Our cultural bias reduces the scientific attention given to thousands of species

What makes a research team focus their efforts on one group of animals or another? The reasons for this choice are difficult to ascertain. However, it seems clear that our cultural bias affects the efforts we devote to the study and conservation of some species over others, and consequently influence the decision-making guidelines and the allocation of funds.

This is the main conclusion of an international study involving the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid (MNCN-CSIC).

The Tree of Life is a representation of all living things that inhabit the planet and our knowledge of the species that make it up is not balanced

Aida Verdes, MNCN researcher

For this work recently published in the journal eLifeanalyzed the team 3 007 A kind of eukaryotesrepresentatives of different groups tree of Lifeincluding animals, fungi and plants.

“The Tree of Life is a representation of all living things that live on the planet our knowledge about the species that make it up it is not balanced; Much more is known about certain groups than others,” says MNCN researcher Aida Verdes. “We analyzed the connections that exist between societal and scientific interest and the research efforts for each living being,” he explains.

The number of publications is an indication

To carry out this analysis, experts estimated academic interest of each type based on the number of scientific publications in which it is cited and the number of social interest depending on the number visits to your page below Wikipedia.

Factors such as whether a species is considered beneficial or harmful, whether it has been assigned a common name, or whether it is listed as an endangered species have a direct impact on scientific interest.

Based on this data, they verified that sociocultural factors such as the fact that a kind be considered useful or harmfulif it has been assigned a common name or if it is on the Red List of Threatened Species of the species IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) directly affect the scientific interest this species generates.

Read Also:  The Surprising Behavior of Cooling and Heating Systems: Unveiling Shortcuts and Anomalous Phenomena

“Also the singularity of the kind it is the largest Size or a series of distribution in a broader sense are crucial factors in gaining more social and scientific attention,” emphasizes Verdes.

On the other hand things like The colorful Wave evolutionary proximity of kind in relation to homo sapiens wake up a lot social interest However, they do not correspond to a major scientific effort.

“The results suggest that we focus our attention on some groups and neglect others that deserve more effort and attention, whether because they are there critical extinction risk or because of the key role they play within different ones ecosystems‘, stresses Ricardo Correia from the University of Turku in Finland.

“Since biodiversity conservation is a vital priority for humanity, we should establish this objective criteria to ensure that we study all animal groups equally, rather than focusing solely on them most attractive sectors of the tree of life,” affirms the MNCN researcher.

Correia, R.A et al (2023) “Drivers of species knowledge throughout the tree of life”. elife (2023)

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here