Types of 'types'

Andrew K. Rindsberg arindsberg at GSA.STATE.AL.US
Mon Nov 13 12:01:20 CST 2000

Roger J. Burkhalter asked,
"My question is this...do I include all of these tertiary 'types' in our

The Geological Survey of Alabama has a similar situation: a few hundred
primary types and figured specimens, but many thousands of topotypes.
Because most of the topotypes come from a few famous localities, we
simplified matters by listing the main localities and collectors and stating
that the collection includes topotypes of many species from there. This
serves the public without placing an undue burden on our very limited
resources. (It will be a long time before this collection is fully

Some museums publish a list of papers whose authors reposited types there,
or a list of authors together with their papers. You could publish an
estimate of the number of topotypes, which would "level the playing field"
statistically without diverting resources away from areas that need more
urgent attention. It's an interim solution, but it would give potential
visitors the scope of the holdings.

Andrew K. Rindsberg

Curator, Paleontological Collection
Geological Survey of Alabama
P.O. Box 869999
Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-6999

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