[Taxacom] Total number of name-bearing types

Geoff Read gread at actrix.gen.nz
Thu Jan 8 20:21:41 CST 2009

>>> "Thompson, Chris" <Chris.Thompson at ARS.USDA.GOV> 01/08/09 3:37 AM >>>

> [...] we can
> declare for common widespread species for which Linnaeus gave no
> locality information or only broad locality information, but for which
> the species does today occur in Sweden, then the proper geo-coding is
> the location of Linnaeus' home, etc. In the case of Musca cellaris,
> especially if Linnaeus had a wine cellar!

> [...] These are only two examples. The point is simply (at least for
> that there are already a number of solutions which are provided by the
> International Code of Zoological Nomenclature to resolve the
> type-locality of type of available Scientific names of animals. So, we
> can if we want fix at least a single point on the GBIF world-view for
> each and every valid species.

Yes, it would be so convenient to have that. A nice map with a little dot
on it for the type locality. But, lacking  the special circumstance of
Linnaeus and his wine cellar, one wants to do this without creating an
illusory value for the lat/long. So I feel, as much as I'd like to do it
in my own database of worms, there are  dangers in inventing a neat
georeference for a  truly vague locality indication such as 'Brazil',
'China', 'New Zealand' or  'Indian Ocean', (all places where likely the
typical European species describer of the 18-19th C had never been).
People will take the falsely precise location away with them to re-use it,
and, while the original database may have flagged the location as just a
best guess or a midpoint of a range, secondary users may not be so
meticulous. Thus the new 'fact' might take on a life of its own in print,
and maybe in a later generation of workers someone has to devote time to
disproving it, or it seriously misleads a revisor.

Has someone a recommendation on how to handle this issue?

Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
gread at actrix.gen.nz

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