Peruvian Children's Folk Taxonomy of Marine Animals

José Pizarro-Neyra

Abstract


Free listing was used to obtain names of marine animals from 234 Peruvian children with families involved in fishing activities. They live in the fishing towns of Vila-vila, Morro Sama and Ilo, located in Southern Peru. Fishes, birds and the category “other marine animal” were used for the classification of marine fauna by children. The group of 6-8 year-olds shows a mean frequency of 19.7 names per child, while the group of 9-11 year-olds shows a mean frequency of 25.7 names per child. Folk species of fish is the most frequently recorded category with a predominance of coastal species and with a mean frequency of 7.56 and 11.51 names per child for the groups of 6-8 year-olds and 9-11 year-olds, respectively. In contrast, bird names are less frequently recorded in the lists. Some bird and mollusc names have lexical under-differentiation at a generic level and apparently have lower cultural significance than fish. Children’s classification in different levels of organization is evidence of a folk biology. The folk taxonomy of marine animals could be influenced by the lesser cognitive development of younger children and the ecological salience of some species. Some species with coastal habitat exhibit a high dominance index of folk names. Cultural transmission of knowledge about birds could be failing due to the recent occupancy of the study sites by migratory people and the sexual division of work in the children’s families.


Keywords


folk taxonomy, ecological salience, cognitive development, marine animals, children, fishing, southern Peru

Full Text:

PDF

References


Au, T. K. and L. Romo. 1999. Mechanical Causality in Children´s Folkbiology. In Folkbiology, edited by D. C. Medin and S. Atran, pp. 355-402. MIT Press, Cambridge.

Berlin, B. 1992. Ethnobiological Classification. Principles of Categorization of Plants and Animals in Traditional Societies. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Berlin, B., J. S. Boster, and J. P. O’Neil. 1981. The Perceptual Bases of Ethnbiological Classification: Evidence from Aguaruna Jívaro Ornithology. Journal of Ethnobiology 1:95-108.

Boster, J. S. and J. C. Johnson. 1989. Form of Function: A Comparison of Expert and Novice Judgments of Similarity among Fish. American Anthropologist 91:866-889.

Brown, C. 1979. Folk-Zoological Life-Forms: Their Universality and Growth. American Anthropologist 81:791-817.

Carey, S. 1988. Conceptual Differences between Children and Adults. Mind and Language 3:167-181.

Chirichigno, N. and J. Vélez. 1998. Clave para Identificar Los Peces Marinos del Perú, Segunda edición. Instituto del Mar del Perú, Callao.

Drew, J. A. 2005. Use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Marine Conservation. Conservation Biology 19:1286-1293.

Estrella, C., G. Castillo, and J. Fernández. 2006. Encuesta Estructural de la Pesquería Artesanal Peruana. Regiones de Moquegua y Tacna. IMARPE-PRODUCE-AECI, Callao.

Johnson, S. and S. Carey. 1998. Knowledge Enrichment and Conceptual Change in Folkbiology: Evidence from Williams Syndrome. Cognitive Psychology 37:156-200.

Hunn, E. 1999. Size as Limiting the Recognition of Biodiversity in Folkbiological Classifications: One of Four Factors Governing the Cultural Recognition of Biological Taxa. In Folkbiology, edited by D.C. Medin and S. Atran, pp. 47-69. MIT Press, Cambridge.

INEI. 2008. Censos Nacionales 2007: XI de Población y VI de Vivienda. Resultados Definitivos. Tomo I. Dirección Nacional de Censos y Encuestas del Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática, Lima.

Jefferson, T. A., S. Leatherwood and M. A. Webber. 1993. Marine Mammals of the World. FAO Species Identification Guide. FAO, Rome.

Markman, E. M. 1989. Categorization and Naming in Children: Problems of Induction. MIT Press, Bradford Books, Cambridge.

Martin, G. J. 1995. Ethnobotany: A Methods Manual. Chapman and Hall, London, UK.

Paredes, C., J. Tarazona, E. Canahuire, L. Romero and O. Cornejo.1988. Invertebrados Macro.Bentónicos del Área de Pisco, Perú. In Recursos y Dinámica del Ecosistema de Afloramiento Peruano. Volúmen extraordinario, edited by H. Salzwedel and A. Landa, pp. 121-132. Boletín IMARPE, Callao.

Paz, V. A. and A. Begossi. 1996. Ethnoicthyiology of Gamboa Fishermen of Sepetiba Bay, Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology 16:157-168.

Ross, N., D. L. Medin, J. D. Coley and S. Atran. 2003. Cultural and Experiential Differences in the Development of Folkbiological Induction. Cognitive Development 18:25-47.

Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, D. L. Lane, J. P. O’Neill and T. A. Parker. 2007. Birds of Peru. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Setalaphruk, C. and L. L. Price. 2007. Children’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Wild Food Resources: A Case Study in a Rural Village in Northeast Thailand. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 3:33. Doi:10.1186/1746-4269-3-33.

Souza, S. P. and A. Begossi. 2007. Whales, Dolphins or Fishes? The Ethnotaxonomy of Cetaceans in São Sebastião, Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 3:9. Doi:10.1186/1746-4269-3-9.

Trowbridge, J. E. and J. Mintzes. 1985. Students’ Alternative Conceptions of Animals and Animal Classification. School Science and Mathematics 85:304-316.

Van Waerebeek, K. and J. C. Reyes. 1994. Post-Ban Small Cetacean Takes off Peru: A Review. Report International Whaling Commission 15:503-519.

Vizcarra, J. 2006. Aves de los Humedales de Ite y Alrededores. Biodiversidad y Conservación Integral (Colombia) 11:41-50.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14237/ebl.2.2011.26

Copyright (c) 2011 Ethnobiology Letters

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.