New threat to types

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Mon Jul 10 10:15:51 CDT 1995

Date sent: 10-JUL-1995
Mike Ivie wrote:
 >source countries and holders of types, as was suggested earlier.  I for
 >one would really like the London and Paris museums to provide me with travel
 >funds to study types taken from my country.

To the best of my knowledge, the type of Eschscholzia californica (California
poppy), a plant dear to my heart and career, is at the herbarium in St.
Petersburg, Russia (L).  I have read of the deterioration of that institution
with some trepidation, and I would hate to see the specimen lost.  But
Russia paid a bundle for the expedition on which it was collected.  If
Chamisso hadn't collected the species, someone else would have, but it
would have a different type in a different museum.

It is ironic that the careful scholarship that we attach to types
would provide an excellent evidentiary trail for their repatriation.

Another item for thought:  If the treaty applies to all flora and fauna,
what about imported foods?  Do I have to take apart my Big Mac and
repatriate the wheat to Montana and meat to Costa Rica? (or is it the
other way around....)  Clearly, the economics say that the beef and
wheat were paid for.  Maybe the same view could work for museum specimens.

Curtis Clark                                       Voice: (909) 869-4062
Biological Sciences Department                     FAX:   (909) 869-4396
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Pomona CA 91768-4032                               jcclark at

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