Funding for research in taxonomy and for conservation is difficult to obtain, and selling the rights to name an organism can provide a direct source of support for these activities. Putting an explicit price on the discovery and description of new species provides value in terms that people can relate to personally and immediately, a monetary value. This is often easier for people to connect with than the other values associated with biodiversity which tend to be moral, philosophical, religious, aesthetic, scientific or ecologically functional. It also gives recognition to the work of species discovery, in the way a financial prize draws attention to an honour conferred on an artist – it is not the money per se, it is the recognition that goes with it. Selling names can engage the public in biodiversity by providing a potential for perceived ‘ownership’. Sponsorship and patronage has always been a part of scientific exploration, and it is argued that this is no different.
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