Type of Homo sapiens

Fri Jan 5 13:18:21 CST 1996

The discussion about the type specimen of Linnaeus is a source of
continuing amazement.  The issue has arisen twice before on
Taxacom (25 Jan 1995, 23-24 Aug 1995), and both times was put to
rest by Earle Spamer of my institution.

Spamer noted that W. T. Stearns (1959, Systematic Zoology 8: 4)
designated Linnaeus as the type of ^Homo sapiens^.  Dr. P. K.
Tubbs has recently stated that there is no need for a lectotype
of Homo sapiens, since the identity of the species is obvious.
Nonetheless, Stearns action stands as a valid lectotype
designation, as Spamer demonstrated on 24 August, so Linnaeus is
the lectotype of ^Homo sapiens^, whether or not a lectotype is
regarded as necessary.

I must also note that Linnaeus's phrase "Homo nosce Te ipsum"
pertains to the genus Homo, not to the species ^Homo sapiens^
(see page 20 of ^Systema Naturae^, ed. 10).

Gary Rosenberg
Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1195
rosenberg at say.acnatsci.org

More information about the Taxacom mailing list