type of Homo sapiens

Michael Ivie ueymi at GEMINI.OSCS.MONTANA.EDU
Mon Jan 1 11:04:42 CST 1996


Here we have an problem that seems to reappear over and over.  Botanists
using the provisions of the Botanical Code to discuss a Zoological problem.
Homo sapiens is a member of the Animalia, and as such, provisions of the
Botanical Code have no meaning.  Typification rules and nomenclature are
different in the various Codes.

The argument about Linne himself being the holotype is only possible  because
of the multiple interpretations of his description.  One claim is that he
used "yourself" to mean himself, the author, and therefore the first
reader.  Under this argument (which is not mine), he is saying "do what I
did, look at yourself", thus making himself the sole specimen used.
Reference to a specimen or even illustration can validate a zoological name
from that period.  If it seemed important, I myself would
consider the Lectotype argument the correct option, but others differ
on this (smart others in this case, who do pay attention).  In your example,
using his dog instead of a plant (to keep it in the correct code), if 1) he
had said "know your own dog", if 2) he could be shown to have had only one
dog, and if 3) it was preserved, the holotype argument COULD BE MADE.  In
the human case, the ICZN has settled this (I am pretty sure about
this, but am at home and can't check).  Don't remember if its a holotype or
lectotype, but then again, it really doesn't matter.

As for the point that Linnaeus didn't designate a type specimen, this
applies to all really early descriptions, as the concept of unique types
in zoology didn't come along until the nineteenth century.  Under the
ICZN a holotype is considered to have been designated if it can be shown
a single specimen was used (this may be the difference that confuses
botanists? isn't this different from the Botanical Code?)  Anyway, hardly an
excuse for thousands on "new" types.

The real point of my previous message is, however, perfectly valid even
under the Botanical Code.  Using the example of the tree in Linnaeus' yard,
if it can be proven that 1) the sheet from this tree was at hand at the
time of the description, and 2) the specimen still exists with all
diagnostic features, what term would you use to describe a botanist who then
tries to establish a specimen from 100 years later as the name-bearing
type (especially if done to garner publicity for some strange cause)?
And what would you call someone who then trumpets this deed as correct in
front of the taxonomic community?  Seems rather obvious...

I still say following Bakker's argument is beneath professional systematists.

Mike Ivie

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