Wide dissemination of Specimens is Best, regardless of ownership

christian thompson cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Wed Sep 25 17:32:27 CDT 2002

This string started because of an inquiry about the precise meaning of
Article 16.4.2 where I did note that the Editorial Committee was well
aware of the problems of defining "Private / Public" Collections and of
restricting the deposition of primary types, such as had already been
done for neotype.

We decided to leave the subject alone. Our primary concern was that
workers knew WHERE the primary types were. I believe the long discussion
here has proved our wisdom.

BUT one point which needs to be emphasized. Without "private / amateur"
taxonomists our knowledge would be very limited. HALF the known species
of North American flies were described by amatuers, and most of their
types have found their way  into "public/private" institutional

AND because our science is based on specimens, we are always in need of
more to be refine our hypotheses of characters, taxa and relationships.
And to document those hypotheses we need to ensure the specimens we
study are available to the future generations. And more widely
disseminated those specimens are, the more widely available they are to

So, we need to ENCOURAGE ALL all people working on little known groups
to acquire SPECIMENS, to build collections, and to SHARE the wealth with
all, private, public, who ever needs them, etc.

Our biggest problems are not where the specimens are kept, but the
increasing government restrictions on acquiring specimens!

Got to run ...

F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
c/o Smithsonian Institution
MRC-0169 NHB
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso at sel.barc.usda.gov e-mail
www.diptera.org  web site

More information about the Taxacom mailing list