Types and Original Authors

B.J.Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Fri Jun 18 07:28:52 CDT 2004

Some time ago Sandro Minelli sent me the draft of a paper which is now in
print, dealing with the special status of taxonomic literature. In
subsequent articles Sandro has implied that it may be possible to uncouple
the system of referring back to the original literature - the model being
the bacteriological system where we have a central indexing system.
Unfortunately this DOES NOT replace going back to the original literature,
nor was it ever intended to. The original literature contains not only the
circumscription of the taxon, but also the methods used to obtain the data.
In the case of locating names, authors, dates, publication and location of
types, the use of the central index communicates that information quickly
and easily to the scientific community, but it does not replace reading the
original literature, and at present it does not tell you which of several
homotypic synonyms is the "correct name" (a defined by the Bacteriological
Code). However, it does not mean that properly curated lists are not an
excellent starting point.
(see http://www.bacterio.cict.fr/ for an example)

At 23:14 17.6.2004 +0100, Kevin Tilbrook wrote:
>I have been following this thread and have to agree with the views of Dick
Petit and Ron Gatrelle - to be confident of your specific assignation one
must always try to consult the original publication and its associated
material. I want to see that material for myself, not take someone else's
word for it (there are a lot of dabblers). Surely this is the basis of
taxonomic rigor, otherwise it becomes a case of Chinese Whispers - self
perpetuating misidentification. Finding the type material is sometimes
hideously timeconsuming and often frustrating, but at the end of the day,
when the monograph is written, I can feel confident that I have done MY
best, nailed it, and any mistakes are mine, and mine alone! Hopefully, that
monograph will stand the test of time and be used for some decades to come.
Too often I have seen references to "well-known" and "widely-distributed"
species, only to find that after comparing the type material with
representative samples from within the supp!
> osed
> range of this "well-known" species, low and behold I have a complex of
morphologically similar yet easily distinguishable species. On more than
one occasion I have differentiated a dozen morphological species from under
the original umbrella "species". I love looking at Bryozoa.
> ALL-NEW Yahoo! Messenger - sooooo many all-new ways to express yourself

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