Museums are filled with dead insects, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles meticulously gathered worldwide in the name of scientific discovery. But some researchers now say scientists should think twice.
There is absolutely no way to determine a species’ identification without collecting a specimen. Our technology is just not that sophisticated; there is a major misconception there that we’ve all got portable, fully-efficient laboratories and equipment that can be hauled into the field, readily available and accessible. We don’t. Nobody does. And there’s absolutely no way to ensure an area will be conserved if it is not determined beforehand and established firmly that there are species in that area which warrant conservation. In order to do that, legislation requires that biologists prove the inherent value of biodiversity in said area. And they aren’t going to set aside acres and hectares of land for conservation on the basis of someone’s field photograph and a vague assumption that there might be a species of concern in that area. That just isn’t how it works.
This is the importance of communicating science so we don’t have a majority that look at stories like this and jump to the conclusion that curators and researchers are maniacally out in the field, blood-thirsty and without regard towards conservation. That’s just not what museums do. In fact, it’s completely against our mission.
This is also why I felt the need to make our latest video: Where’d you get all those dead animals?