[Taxacom] Fwd: complete list of all species

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Fri Feb 15 04:34:01 CST 2008

Jim Croft wrote:
> The Type is all that is needed to prevent it being a farce.

From: "Mike Dallwitz" <m.j.dallwitz at netspeed.com.au>
The descriptive data is what makes it science. Suppose you publish research
on a chemical that you call chlorine, but which other researchers may have
called bromine or 50 other names. You justify this by saying: 'I've kept a
sample of this chemical, and if you visit my lab in Woop Woop, and the labs
of the other 50-odd researchers, you'll probably be able to work out what
we've all been writing about'. I'd call that farcical.

Taxonomists literally don't know what they're talking about. What's needed
to fix this problem is comparative, _reproducible_ data - analogous to a
chemical test for chlorine. If an identification fails, it's usually because
the user hasn't been been able to reproduce the data of the author; and they
frequently (~30%) do fail - see 'Effectiveness of Identification Methods –
References' (http://delta-intkey.com/www/idtests.htm).

To be accurate you would have to add circumscription:
* the type determines what the name is attached to
* the circumscription defines the taxonomic boundaries
* a description (or a set of descriptions) of a taxon is only possible and
meaningful when its circumscription is established.

BTW I would guess that the main reason for failing identifications would be
the absence of good pictorial material?


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