non living taxon

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tony rebelo

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Jan 31, 2019, 4:03:50 AM1/31/19
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What is the logic for not having a "not-life" taxon?

I have a few observations of algae and fungi that have turned out to be crystalline growths or deposits.  

So all one can do is withdraw any IDs and flag it as "Evidence of organism" = False.   

But that is wrong!  It is not an organism.  The "Evidence of organism" refers to photographs and sounds that are 'inappropriate' (e.g. a "stock photo" or a photograph of something irrelevant) or 'inadequate' (e.g. too vague, too out of focus, too small, not enough colour, etc.  to make or confirm an ID at the current community level) or even totally missing (i.e. no photo or sound or DNA sequence).

Yes, human-made stuff  can be classified as human, but only because human data are effectively discarded by iNat anyway.  So it does not matter if a plastic toy is classified as "human".   ((( Although arguably Oldowan Stone tools are good data, even though they are made by extinct species (Homo habilis), and are no longer recent (unless finding the tool can be classified as recent);  And human-made stuff using animal or plant parts can also be classified as to their origins.  Ditto "living stuff" found in a muti (medicine) market, such as vulture legs, lion bones and bulbs))).  

it is not like creating such a taxon will open the door to alternative schemes like clouds,, rocks, landscapes, vegetation types or toys.  That need never happen (not that iNaturalist software will not be ideal for such  websites as geology, nephology or phytosociology)   This site is about Life, but it needs to explicitly acknowledge that not all contributions are living,and allow for their proper classification as "non-Life".  Deleting such observations is also silly, as they are clearly life-like and are useful to illustrate differences between fungal and crystal growths (or lichens vs rock stains), and will regularly be posted by novices and even those who should know better to be so easily fooled.
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