names and numbers

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Sat Oct 20 19:36:24 CDT 2001

At 06:40 AM 10/17/01, Panza, Robin wrote:
>Now what?  Some collections may accept the new name and assign the new
>number to those of their specimens that agree with the description.  Other
>curators don't accept the new name and keep the old number for all their
>specimens.  There goes the utility of the numbers.

and Richard Pyle responded:
>In fact, specimen identifications are the *ultimate* assertions,

Another way of saying this is that assigning a name to any specimen other
than an identified type is a determination, and all determinations are
subjective. This can never change if systematics is to remain a science,
open to new data and interpretations. I think Richard's view of assertions
is an extremely useful way of dealing with this reality in the context of a

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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