[Taxacom] Type of Vetularctos inopinatus

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Sun Jan 18 20:55:07 CST 2009

Dear All,
       I was listening to a program on PBS TV tonight about polar bears
and grizzly bears.  They mentioned a natural hybrid between these two
species discovered back in 1864 (which  was later named as a new species
AND genus, Vetularctos inopinatus Merriam, 1918).          
       Anyway, I have it listed in my own 1977 mammal catalog (from
which the 1st Edition of our book "Mammal Species of the World",
Honacki, Kinman & Koeppl, was derived) as a synonym of Ursus horribilis.
However, I now wonder since it is a hybrid between species, whether this
hybrid might actually be better listed as a synonym of Ursus maritimus.
I assume it might depend on whether this hybrid's father was a grizzly
or a polar bear?                 
      Either way, would the holotype (name-bearing type) of this synonym
(inopinatus) be considered some kind of isotype?  Or does its hybrid
nature disqualify it as a type at all?  
         -----Ken Kinman

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