Benjamin Martin Waggoner
bmw at UCLINK2.BERKELEY.EDU
Thu Oct 12 22:23:52 CDT 1995
> If anyone
> wants more information on what are probably the most surreal taxonomic
> monographs ever written, e-mail me and I'll send the exact refs. . .
By overwhelming popular demand, and at risk of further antagonizing
assorted readers of Taxacom: The bibliographic citations for Okamura's
classic "minivertebrate" papers are:
Okamura, C. 1977. _Archaeoanas japonica_ n. sp. Original Report of the
Okamura Fossil Laboratory 13: 157-164. (description of a Silurian
__. 1980. Period of the Far Eastern minicreatures. Original Report of the
Okamura Fossil Laboratory 14: 165-346.
__. 1987. New facts: Homo and all vertebrata were born simultaneously in
the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil
Laboratory 15: 347-573.
Several major US libraries actually have copies of these -- UC-Berkeley
does. Several folks have asked me for copies; since two of these monographs
are about 200 pages long, I can't readily send copies of the whole
monographs, but I'll try and put together "samplers" of some of the best
I can't resist including one classic figure caption: in his 1987
monograph, Okamura presented lots of data on the activities of the
5-millimeter humans, _Homo sapiens miniorientalis_, that peopled the globe
in the Silurian. He shows a photograph of an *unidentifiable blob* in a
limestone thin section and captions it:
"In this photo, two totally-naked homos, facing each other, are moving
their hands and feet harmoniously on good terms. We can think of no
other scene than dancing in a present-day style."
Wow, the Silurian was a fun time to be alive . . .
Apologies for cluttering up everyone's mailbox. . . but in all
seriousness, I find Okamura's works to be quite useful. Not for their
systematics or vertebrate paleontology, which are undeniably kooky,
but as a reminder of the perils of actualism -- Okamura's work is the
ultimate attempt to "shoehorn" every odd fossil into an extant, familiar
taxon. And I work on Late Precambrian fossils, with some excursions into
the Early Cambrian; a lot of those fossils have been interpreted in
weird-sounding ways by serious and respected paleontologists, and Okamura
is a reminder not to get too cocky about my own ideas as to where my
fossils should be classified, or too attached to someone else's. In 50
or 100 years, for all I know, some of my pet systematic ideas might sound
quite Okamura-esque. I hope not. . .
Dept. of Integrative Biology
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
bmw at uclink2.berkeley.edu
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