Monday 9 December 2019

Caste Names in Taxonomy

The caste system makes its presence felt even in taxonomy, where terms such as 'Brahminy' and 'Pariah' are used to refer to superiority and ferality respectively. Surely, taxonomy can do better in this day and age, when common names are being revised to suit modern sensibilities.

The Brahminy Kite, a common coastal carnivorous, scavenging raptor, comments on the caste system in my column with The Hindu. The majestic bird is often associated with the mythological character Garuda, specially in South-east Asia countries where it is revered as a state symbol.

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