type of Homo sapiens

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Mon Jan 1 11:18:58 CST 1996

This is an interesting topic for discussion.  As I recall the earlier
discussion, last August, it was clear that Linnaeus did not designate a
type specimen.  The argument that Linnaeus himself should serve as the
type was based largely, if not entirely, on the facts that he wrote
several autobiographies and obviously was quite familiar with his own
characteristics - thus, he is among the "specimens" examined.

This strikes me as a somewhat specious argument.  Suppose I named a
species of tree and didn't designate a holotype.  In my personal
herbarium, someone finds a specimen of the taxon that was collected from
an old tree that was in my front yard.  The specimen is not designated by
me as a type.  The argument put forth is that this tree was clearly among
the specimens I examined; after all, I would see it every time I walked
out the door.  Therefore, even though I designated no type, this specimen
would be declared the holotype?  I don't think so.  At best, it would be
declared a lectotype and, furthermore, if I read the botanical code
correctly, it could be designated a lectotype only if it could be
verified that this specimen was among the materials I used to develop my
description of the new taxon.

I will risk being called a fool (in my opinion, an unfortunate and
unnecessary choice of words by Mike Ivie), and suggest that there appears
to be a legitimate question about what the type specimen of _Homo_ _sapiens_

Richard J. Jensen      |   E-MAIL: rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Dept. of Biology       |   TELEPHONE: 219-284-4674
Saint Mary's College   |   FAX: 219-284-4716
Notre Dame, IN  46556  |

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