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"Lower" and "Higher" Termites - let's not do this anymore...

Led by Tiago Carrijo, our latest commentary in Insectes Sociaux has just been published 🐜📖


Carrijo, T. F., Engel, M. S., Chouvenc, T., Gile, G. H., Mikaelyan, A., Dedeine, F., ... & Santos, C. M. D. (2023). A call to termitologists: it is time to abandon the use of “lower” and “higher” termites. Insectes Sociaux, 1-5.


Titled "A call to termitologists: it is time to abandon the use of “lower” and “higher” termites," is about an unusual classification of termites into groups based essentially the composition of their gut microbiomes. However, this paper is more than just a call to action for termite researchers. It's a challenge to the entire field of evolutionary biology to rethink the way we categorize and understand the diversity of life. 🌳


For too long, terms like "lower" and "higher" have perpetuated a linear and hierarchical view of evolution. These terms suggest a progression from simple to complex organisms, leading to misunderstandings and oversimplifications of the intricate and interconnected nature of life on Earth. 🕸 🌍


Our paper traces the historical origins of these terms and highlights their flawed interpretation of evolutionary relationships. We propose new terminology that reflects a more accurate and nuanced understanding of termites and, by extension, all living organisms. 🧬


Why does this matter? Because the words we use to describe organisms and phenomena matter! The way we talk about evolution shapes our understanding of the natural world. By casting aside outdated and misleading terminology, we can foster a more inclusive and accurate view of the rich diversity of life.


Big thanks to Tiago Carrijo for letting me jump on board as a co-author!

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