Tagged: plant ID

Plant blindness in smartphone identification applications – are we passing on our biases to our helpful apps?

It is well-known that people are better at identifying animals than plants and this relative inability of people to identify plants is increasingly termed “plant blindness”. Recent research has identified links between undervaluing nature, mental health, and plant blindness. Ask anyone to identify common animals and most will easily identify badgers, foxes, blackbirds and otters. But ask the same people (assuming you have not asked a botanist in the first place) to identify rowan, lords & ladies, horse chestnuts or wood anemone and most will be stumped. There are many useful guides to help the more nature-minded of us to...

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Answer: Not Lamarck(!)

Answer: Not Lamarck(!)

OK, that’s the answer, what was the question? Who invented the dichotomous key for identification? Well, as anybody who has taught students about keys and their use as tools for plant ID (or even for animals if you must!) will probably agree, the consensus is that the oft-derided French former botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is credited with that honour, in 1778 (although curiously – presciently? – this factoid is not mentioned on Lamarck’s ‘official’ biography on Wikipedia). Well, Lawrence Griffing in his beautifully illustrated Special Paper makes a compelling case (this Englishman is convinced, anyway!) that the real credit belongs to Brit...

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Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Barcode Wales

No, this has nothing to do with whales (they’re fish-like denizens of the deep, and has probably already been done by some countries under the guise of ‘scientific whaling’ anyway…). Nor is it a strange and unusual instruction to implant microchips into the natives of that principality within the Untied Kingdom. It’s not even a move to standardise the strange garb worn by participants at the National Eisteddfod in Wales; anyway, that would be Bard-coding…  And it is definitely not a way of keeping tabs on the founder of Wikipedia (Mr Assange of WikiLeaks probably does that on our behalf already…)....

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