[Taxacom] complete list of all species

David Murray ffdfm at uaf.edu
Fri Feb 15 10:32:16 CST 2008


One very small point, Erik; it is the application of names that is  
opinion (we hope an informed one), for as you say the names  
themselves are founded on the type. Names and their typifications are  
quite separate from the process of circumscribing a species.
The type may or may not be representative of the species as it  
becomes known. Geographically widespread and especially variable taxa  
may have been named more than once by different people unaware of  
what others had done. Then it becomes a problem of determining an  
accepted name, which is both a taxonomic and a nomenclatural problem.  
The taxonomic evaluation is based on opinion, one arrived at , in the  
best of all possible worlds, with care from a study of biological  
components using scientifically acceptable assumptions and methods.  
On the other hand, the nomenclatural evaluation is not--it requires  
adherence to the relevant code of nomenclature, i.e. selection of  
validly published prior names.
List of names are just that, but lists of accepted names, we hope,  
better represent species.
Dave Murray

On Feb 15, 2008, at 6:38 AM, Erik Rijkers wrote:

> A little off topic, perhaps, but I would appreciate your
> opinion.
>
> When reading about the grail of databasing complete lists
> of species, I often think it might be better to replace
> 'species' with 'opinion'.
>
> After all, species lists are name lists, each name being a
> literature reference to the original description. This
> description anchors the name into the real world via a
> type.
>
> It seems to me that the extent to which the type (one
> individual organism) is representative for a wider state
> of affairs (a species) is an educated guess, although
> admittedly 'educated' can be quite a convincing body of
> knowledge.
>
> Organism names are opinions and should be stored in
> databases as such - with the necessary time aspects.
>
> Is this too obvious to be discussed, or is it indeed often
> overlooked?
>
>
> regards,
>
> Erik Rijkers
>
>
>
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