Deposit of type material

Melissa C. Winans mcwinans at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Thu Aug 10 12:04:34 CDT 1995

On Thu, 10 Aug 1995, Julian Humphries wrote:

> >Jorge Soberon asked for comments on this statement:
> >
> >>"In the case that the material collected in Mexico is used to describe
> >>new species, it will be necessary for the foreign scientist to deposit
> >>part of the type material in a Mexican collection with an infrastructure
> >>that guarantees its preservation and maintenance"
> ..
> I don't think there wil be *any* controversy over paratypes.  Holotypes are
> more sensitive, but without respect to country of origin.  These must
> be deposited in an institution, whether in the country of biological origin
> or authors affilitation, in institutions with long term infrastructure
> support.  This may leave out all but a few universities in the USA and
> even smaller freestanding museums.

One thing to keep in mind is that even in "first world" countries *no*
collection is really safe unless it has endowment money of its very own.
Even in institutions with good records on "long term infrastructure
support," the funding can dry up almost overnight if the goals of the
funding institution change.  I could cite a number of examples of this
over the last few years in my own discipline (vertebrate paleontology),
and no doubt the rest of you can for yours.

In the long run, the strategy that several have advocated of spreading the
types (whether para- or holo-) among several collections probably is the
best insurance against disaster, even though it admittedly does make it
more of a challenge to study a given taxon.

Melissa C. Winans, Collection Manager   Phone: 512-471-6087
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory        Fax: 512-471-5973
J.J. Pickle Research Campus             Email: mcwinans at
University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712

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