Not exactly. With the millions of people who have spent the past month walking around outside playing the augmented reality online game Pokémon Go and hunting for virtual pocket monsters, they are also encountering real wildlife as well. This interesting aspect came to us from Nature in their article, “Gotta name them all: how Pokémon can transform taxonomy.”

Scientists and conservationists are eager to capitalize on the potential to reach a new portion of the public who can contribute to the taxonomy world. They are encouraging Pokémon hunters to snap and share online images of the real-life creatures they find. Maybe this virtual reality game will prompt the discovery of a new species?

Digital collectors are increasing in numbers and quickly outnumbering specimen collectors. Plus new conservation rules are making it harder to collect and transport real species samples. This community needs to get with the times and adapt to technology. High-resolution photos can often provide enough information for a proper description.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.