Formal Descriptions and a Different Reality

Thu Nov 23 11:30:37 CST 1995

I think Julian has a point. However, the future is here already:

Headline in September 1995 NCBI News, National Center fro
Biotechnology Information:
GenBank Taxonomy: Is a Rabbit a Fish?
"Users are starting to notice the taxonomy changes in GenBank. This is
the result of a project started 2 years ago to build a uniform,
phylogenetically based taxonomy for GenBank. ..."

Well, the article explicitly states that "the GenBank taxonomy was
developed by merging and unifying taxonomic data from a variety of
sources" and that "the project is not intended to produce an
international standard or official classification".
In any case, this article provides a good example of what _users_ of
taxonomic information need and that they are willing to go ahead on
their own if the taxonomic community is unable to provide that
information in a usable (electronic) form.
Efforts are made to change this situation, e.g. by the Species 2000
initiative (all organisms) and IOPI (plants). Whole-hearted support
for these efforts is needed!
Walter Berendsohn

> Botanists, zoologists and systematists of all flavors:
> ...
> Consider the hypothetical scenario presented below as a possible "your
> worst nightmare" view of what might happen if we continue to spend
> significant amounts of our time arguing about the arcane aspects of
> species descriptions.  Don't get me wrong here, I have little specific
> *************************************************************************
> Headline in January 27, 1998 Science:  Molecular Systematic Community
> announces new system of nomenclature.
   Dr. Walter G. Berendsohn, Freie Universitaet Berlin,
   Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem,
   Koenigin-Luise-Str. 6-8, 14191 Berlin, Germany
   Tel: +49 30 83006-143, Fax: +49 30 83006-186
   Email: wgb at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list