Holotype selection criteria

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Thu Dec 2 16:17:25 CST 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Fabio Moretzsohn
> Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 4:01 PM
> Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Holotype selection criteria
> I have to admit that the message I sent yesterday about holotype
> made me sound completely clueless. Despite contrary evidence from that
> message, I am familiar with the taxonomic practice. And I believe that
> holotype should be a typical specimen, close as possible to the
average of
> the range of variation of the species, and not an extreme .

I would ask whether the need for the type to be the average of the range
of variation of the species makes any difference to the role of the type
as a reference specimen. If the species is recognized by an
autapomorphy, for example, then as long as all individuals expressed
that apomorphy it would not seem to matter whether the specimen was
close to the average range of variation of the species.

John Grehan
> What prompted me to write the ill-drafted posting was a quote from
> (1999: 173): "A type-specimen may or may not be typical of the
> the
> important point is that it provides a fixed reference for the use of
> name (Jeffrey, 1989)."
> I think a non-typical type is a poor selection, so I tried to come up
> some criteria that might be used to select such a type, and I wanted
> know
> how some of you might defend that point of view.
> Fabio
> -----------------
> Winston, J.E. 1999. Describing Species. Practical Taxonomic Procedure
> Biologists. Columbia University Press, New York

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