[Taxacom] complete list of all species

Jody Haynes jody at plantapalm.com
Fri Feb 15 07:40:56 CST 2008

Not necessarily, Paul. The data retrieved from any database is only as good 
as the data that are put in... and, since we are human after all, mistakes 
can (and do) happen. I recently attended an international conference on my 
group of interest, and one researcher made mention of the fact that she was 
unable to reproduce the sequences generated by another researcher using the 
same methods and primers. In another instance, the Genbank sequence was fine 
(and reproducible) but the species was mislabeled when it was entered into 

On another note, I find Jim's comment "[t]axonomists literally don't know 
what they're talking about" somewhat offensive. It is true that not all 
taxonomists are intimately familiar with their organisms of choice in 
habitat, and this can sometimes lead to mistakes in descriptions or 
circumscriptions. But making such a blanket statement is both inaccurate and 
unfair, IMO.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul Kirk" <p.kirk at cabi.org>
To: "Mike Dallwitz" <m.j.dallwitz at netspeed.com.au>; "Taxacom" 
<taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008 2:49 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Fwd: complete list of all species

> Mike,
> Isn't your reproducible data what Genbank are collecting ... ;-)
> You all have a good weekend,
> Paul
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Mike Dallwitz
> Sent: 15 February 2008 07:42
> To: Taxacom
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Fwd: complete list of all species
> Jim Croft wrote:
>> The Type is all that is needed to prevent it being a farce.
>> The descriptive data adds the character (pun intended), and all the 
>> elegance and drama of a great work.
> 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).
> --
> Mike Dallwitz
> Contact information: http://delta-intkey.com/contact/dallwitz.htm
> DELTA home page: http://delta-intkey.com

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