ICBN clarification sought.

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Mon Dec 18 09:22:26 CST 1995

At 05:19 PM 12/17/95 -0800, Timothy S. Ross wrote:

[stuff about paratypes; deleted for brevity]

My response doesn't address the code, but rather the nature of paratypes.  I
have always thought of paratypes as the specimens examined by a taxonomist
in the process of describing a new species.  In that sense, even a
discordant element can contribute to a description, by its contrast.  But I
wonder what is the purpose of (a) having paratypes, and (b) given the
cookie-cutter definition, curating them separately.  If a lectotype is
necessary, paratypes are handy to select it from, but beyond that they don't
seem to really be "types", in the sense that they detract from, rather than
add to, the connection of a name with an organism.  Inasmuch as typology
makes sense only in nomenclature, having been rightfully discarded as a
principle of biology, a paratype will always differ from the holotype, and
will always thus introduce confusion, if one pays attention to it.  So it
would seem that the answer to (b) is "stop curating paratypes separately";
it seems to me this would solve all the problems.

Curtis Clark        http://www.sci.csupomona.edu/biology/clark/clark.htm
Biological Sciences Department                     Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona    FAX:   (909) 869-4396
Pomona CA 91768-4032                               jcclark at csupomona.edu

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