Use of type specimens

Don Reynolds dreynold at BCF.USC.EDU
Fri Nov 8 08:11:12 CST 1996

A morphology vs. molecular type question has come up that I find provocative.
Here is a parsimonious rendition of the question.

The context is taxonomic revision where taxa species are
merged and synonomy is to be established with critical circumscription.

Morphology based taxonomic revision requires the examination of
 the type specimen when it is available in my view..

The molecular systematist view posed in recent discussions is that if
taxonomic revision were made on the basis of sequence analysis, then
there is no compelling reason to examine the type for the species

Reasons for examination of the type are verification of the material at
hand, and first hand examination of the data associated with the type

I recall that the type method was a condition of the merger of European code
and an American code. Is this designation of a type in association with a
name necessary, and what compelling reasons are there for the use of type material in a sequence based revision? (Total data arguments noted).

dreynold at
Don R. Reynolds                     Telephone 213 744 3232
Research and Collections            FAX 213 744 3482 or 213 746 2999
Natural History Museum
900 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90007

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