[Taxacom] Type localities, Geo-coding, etc.

Robin Leech releech at telusplanet.net
Fri Jan 9 09:00:10 CST 2009


And then, on the other had, there were many paid collectors (people who
were paid for collected specimens ) who came out to the western parts
of North America.  They collected all over the place, then had all their
materials sent from a main sending centre say, "Los Angeles" or "San
Francisco", or other places.  In reality, the specimens may not have come
from even California, just somewhere in the western US.
Robin Leech

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Thompson, Chris" <Chris.Thompson at ARS.USDA.GOV>
To: <gread at actrix.gen.nz>; <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 5:43 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Type localities, Geo-coding, etc.


>
> Yes, Geoff,
>
> One should ALWAYS properly document the basis of one's geo-coding of any
> specimen record and provide an indication of the precision of the datum.
> AND this especially critical for old type-locality.
>
> But it is not only Linnaeus' wine cellar. When one digs into the history
> of a name and the type it is based on, one frequently finds rather
> precise information.
>
> Another favorit example. The student of Linnaeus, who took over
> Entomology after him, was Fabricius. In his first work, Systema
> Entomologiae (1775) he described many new species as simply being from
> "America. V. Rohr" Obviously he then thought that was good enough for
> his purposes. But today if we check the history of "v. Rohr" we discover
> that he was the Royal Architect stationed at St. Croix in the then
> DANISH Virgin Island. Which is a much more precise definition for
> "America v. Rohr."
>
> The basic problem I find today is the younger workers usually do not
> even bother the examine the original description, but if they do, they
> simply stop and declare them useless as they have vague incomplete
> information. And there are no IMPACT factors for digging into Ancient
> history about earlier collectors and voyages of discovery, etc.
>
> AND YES, most users never read nor understand the caveats provided with
> scientific data. Again from our experience with the BDWD where we
> provide an quality assurance measure with every record, we note that
> virtually all users accept our information as the gospel truth! And
> unfortunately experts never use our information as they already know the
> truth! But gradually we are cleaning the data up.
>
> Oh, well ... it is again Friday ...
>
> F. Christian Thompson
> Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
> c/o Smithsonian Institution MRC-0169
> PO Box 37012
> Washington, D. C. 20013-7012
> (202) 382-1800 voice
> (202) 786-9422 fax
> Chris.Thompson at ars.usda.gov
> www.diptera.org Diptera Website
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Geoff Read
> Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 9:22 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Total number of name-bearing types
>
>>>> "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
> Zoology)
>> 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?
>
> Geoff
> --
> Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
> Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
> gread at actrix.gen.nz
>
>
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