Primetime Protists

Charles J. O'Kelly okellyc at megasun.BCH.UMontreal.CA
Wed Jul 17 07:31:13 EST 1996


In article <199607161054.GAA01959 at emlab.cb.uga.edu> farmer at EMLAB.CB.UGA.EDU writes:
>Yesterday I was delighted to open my mailbox and see protists on the 
>front of a major US magazine. 
>
>Imagine then my dismay when I read the article inside and they 
>referred to foraminiferans as "...microscopic, single-celled 
>animals.."  Animals??  ANIMALS!!!  If the editors of one of the most 
>influential magazines for educating the public about the nature of 
>science was calling forams "animals",  I realized that we have our 
>work cut out for us.

since most biologists outside the protist community
either know nothing about or misunderstand the current debates
about protist systematics, I can hardly expect non-biologist
professional writers/editors to grasp the concepts
 ... unless we tell them!

besides, under some definitions, Sci. Am. is right.
(example: group contains ancestor and all descendants, ancestor is 
the first mitochondrial eukaryote, first mitochondrial eukaryote 
is treated as an animal, ergo all protists are animals - 
of course, by this definition, coconuts are animals too :-) )

>Does someone more eloquent than I want to draft a letter to the 
>Editor of Scientific American

suggestion: craft any letter in the context of a story opportunity.
"Protistologists Reshape the Trunk of the Tree of Life".  or 
something like that.  

might get a far more sympathetic hearing than a complaint ... but
be prepared to hear a request from Sci. Am. for authors, story 
outline, deadline.  pack of work, but why not take the chance of
raising ye olde profile?  and I'm not just addressing Mark here
:-)

best, charley

===============

Charles J. O'Kelly
Mad Protistologist
okellyc at bch.umontreal.ca
http://megasun.bch.umontreal.ca/protists/cjocv.html




More information about the Protista mailing list