Repatriation of types
MICHAEL A. IVIE
ueymi at MSU.OSCS.MONTANA.EDU
Thu Aug 10 10:00:48 CDT 1995
I believe that simple courtesy should make this proposed rule unnecessary
in the case of MEXICO, and as such no one should take it badly if it is
a rule. I have practiced it myself for years, so it wouldn't even change
things. I have 2 points to make, however. First, if signing such an agreement
was part of a process by which it was made that this agreement made it
possible to obtain a low-cost permit in an efficent manner, it could even
be seen as popular.
My second point is that Mexico (and Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica,
Venezuela, and so on) are inappropriately referred to as third world
countries, and I am tired of it. To a large extent, these countries have
well developed scientific infrastructures and institutions as stable as
those in the northern countries (and in some case as old). We can stop
debating if their primary museums are good enought to hold our precious
types. It is insulting and chavanistic to even keep up the debate.
Myself, I consider holotypes to be nothing but a pain. You have to be so
careful with them, answer all those loan requests, and you really shouldn't
use them on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, I get rid of them asap to a
place with the commitment and staff to take care of them.
By the way, I personally resent all the North American types in Sweden, Finland
Russia, England, and France. Don't they think we can take care of our types
well here? Of course that is not the problem, and because we know where they
are, I support leaving them there. Mexico's approach seems best. Once the
infrastructure is in place and proven, all subsequently designated HOLOTYPES
should go back.
The law should be worded so that it is clear that unsorted material can be
taken home (i.e. exported) for sorting. In some countries rules have been
written in good faith, but intrepreted at the border to mean that you must
divide the stuff up on the spot. That might be OK for plants pressed in
duplicate, but not for a litre of insects taken in a malaise trap.
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