Paris Types??

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Fri May 8 10:13:16 CDT 1998

At 3:32 PM -0800 5/7/98, Elizabeth Arias wrote:

>...Is is really fair for such a large & important collection to keep their
>material (Chilean material) so tightly & prevent  progress in systematics
>>from occuring in a timely fashion?
        Many museums don't loan type specimens at all, so your situation
isn't unusual.  For example, I've been told that any museum which would
loan a type specimen of a mammal would be disaccredited by the American
Society of Mammalogists because they have decided type specimens are too
valuable to risk.
        As for the National Museum in Paris, I once borrowed some insects
from there (not types), and after study, packed them securely and returned
them by mail.  The package was apparently opened by a customs inspector
somewhere (here or there), not properly repackaged, and the material
arrived with considerable damage.  If this has been a common problem with
the French postal service, I could understand why this museum might not
want to send type specimens in this way.
        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!

Barry M. OConnor                phone: (734) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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