rules for describing new species - looking for assistance

Robin Leech robinl at NAIT.AB.CA
Mon Aug 21 19:42:07 CDT 1995

Why do I detect a tongue-in-cheek here?  Is Robin Baird talking about
HOMO SAPIENS?  Who is going to be the lucky bugger (or unlucky, depending
upon how one looks at it) who will be declared the type of HOMO SAPIENS?
We must have a robust individual, typical in all respects, etc.  Why do
we assume it must be a male?  Are the diagnostic features better on
males?  Certainly the mammae on a female would be better developed than
those on a male.  And the presence of mammary glands is a diagnostic
feature, no?  Nuff said.

Robin Leech

On Sun, 20 Aug 1995, Robin Baird wrote:

> Greetings,
>   I apologize if this request is a bit elementary, as I am not a
> student of taxonomy. I am however in the situation where I am
> interested in the possibility of potentially describing (or re-
> describing?) a "new" species, and need to find some good references
> or get some assistance on "rules" for such. My particular situation
> involves a mammal, where only one species is currently recognized
> in the genus in question. The species was first described by
> Linnaeus, 1758, and no holotype or paratype was designated - only
> a type locality was given, and even then it is fairly broad.
> Several other designations were given to animals from the same
> general area that I am interested in, though in the 1800s, again
> with no types designated. The species I am interested in describing
> is sympatric with its "sister species". Only one new species has
> been described in this mammalian Order in the last twenty years,
> thus there are few taxonomists with expertise with this taxonomic
> group to turn to for assistance. I would appreciate any suggestions
> of appropriate references, or offers of help with a number of
> specific questions.
> Thanks very much,
> Robin W. Baird, Ph.D.
> Department of Biology
> University of Victoria
> Box 1700, MS 7094
> Victoria, B.C.
> V8W 2Y2, Canada
> Phone (604) 380-1925
> Fax (604) 380-1206
> e-mail: rbaird at

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