Paris Types??

Sven O Kullander sven.kullander at NRM.SE
Sat May 9 09:42:17 CDT 1998

At 10:13 08 05 1998 +0100, Barry M. OConnor remarked that everything except
the US of A is not where it should be:

>        The large number of exotic types in European museums has posed
>difficulties for many investigators for a very long time.  This is one of
>the reasons some countries (e.g. Australia, Brazil) now require by law that
>type specimens collected within their borders be deposited in an
>institution within country.  Unfortunately, the "European Museum Tour" is
>an expensive fact of life for most systematists!

It is still cheaper than the "US Museum Tour". And most systematists live
outside the US.

The problem of non-access to types has more to do with particular
institutions than with continents. We all suffer from this, also in
neighboring countries in Europe, and within the US. The few collections
making problems over types have been identified, and they are certainly not
all of them in Europe.

But is this really a problem to local systematists, who can usually get
topotypes, fresh, alive and maybe even fit for captive breeding? What
problems cannot be solved by a competent curator doing the examination or
by a nice photograph? It is more an obstacle to those doing global
nomenclatural revisions requiring more than just one or a few types, and
then there is no easy solution -- except of course to accumulate everything
at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor!

At 17:04 98-05-08 -0600, Robin Leech wrote:
>In all cases, it is much nicer for the
>student to visit the museum with the types.  Sure it takes time, and it
>costs a bit of money, but, just think of all the fun meeting important
>personages, and the connections that will be made.  These will be
>invaluable to the student if he or she remains active in the subject area.

On this I fully agree, and I will do everything I can to support students
visiting us and using our collections. Students will then quickly find that
they can do 100 times more valuable work with fresh, nice specimens in
large series than with some hyped old scaleless, finless, featherless,
wingless and legless types from who knows where.

Re image banks:
Swedish Museum of Natural History catalogues are available online since
nearly the moment Internet was introduced in this country (slight
exaggeration), see . Images are now
also available to some extent for both plants and animals. Our Linnaean
types are not sent gladly on loan; we will, however, provide measurements
and other information, and an image bank (or virtual type collection) is
available since a year or so at . It covers both
botanical and zoological collections. We will appreciate the assistance
from specialists in revising the old collection, types or not types. As
regards the ichthyology collection, also images and information on many of
the 'normal' types will be available online, although such types are lent
for revisions ( for loan

Sven O Kullander
Curator of exotic types of fish & other matter

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