This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Garnett and Christidis (2017) slammed taxonomy for hampering conservation. They painted a picture of capricious taxonomists arbitrarily creating or dismissing species and claimed “the scientific community's failure to govern taxonomy threatens the effectiveness of global efforts to halt biodiversity loss, damages the credibility of science, and is expensive to society”. We reject their premise that taxonomy is but a service in need of governance, rather than an independent—and foundational—scientific discipline.
This manuscript is a rebuttal to Garnett & Christidis (Nature 2017 vol: 546 (7656) pp: 25-27). It was submitted to Nature for consideration as Correspondence, but was not selected for publication. In the hopes that our response will contribute to the larger and ongoing discussion of the role of taxonomy among the biological sciences, we are choosing to publish it as a preprint here. It has also been shared on Medium (https://medium.com/@BioInFocus/taxonomy-is-not-beholden-to-its-dependencies-a-rebuttal-to-garnett-and-christidis-aee1bf22fc20).