[Taxacom] holotype for sale

Neal Evenhuis neale at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Sep 11 22:23:05 CDT 2007

At 3:07 AM +0000 9/12/07, Ken Kinman wrote:
>Hi Neal,
>     Well, those are two really huge "IFS".  But just for the sake of 
>argument, whatever Buckley did with the money is probably not quite 
>as important as the fact there is no telling whether someone rich 
>enough to buy it at $100,000 would squirrel it away as a private 
>"show-and-tell piece" (not available to further scientific study) or 
>donate it to a museum.
>     Anyway, I can't imagine that any reputable journal would ever 
>again publish anything connected with Buckley again, especially if 
>new taxa were involved.  I really would be interested to know if the 
>Botanical Code has anything to say about such an outrageous sale of 
>not one, but three holotypes.  Would these three species and genera 
>still be valid if the only specimens weren't available for further 
>scientific study?

Sales of collections including types happen all the time. However, 
usually they are purchased by institutions for permanent preservation 
and public access. there are no rules preventing ales of types.

I agree with not condoning this sort of thing (the eBay auction 
approach to sales), but both the botanical and zoological codes only 
require holotypes be deposited in a publicly available collection as 
a "recommendation". [Ironically, the ICZN "requires" neotypes to be 
in public institutions but makes no requirement for holotypes.] This 
non-requirement for holotypes to be in public collections I think all 
revolves around the perceived arrogance of professional taxonomists 
vs amateurs, many of the latter who keep their own private 
collections and are doing all of taxonomy a favor without pay, so 
there should be no requirements that their personal collections be 
made public.

OK, I've said it -- that ought to rekindle that amateur vs 
professional debate on this list again .... :-)

Have a happy day!


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