[Taxacom] Read... and believe...
r.e.petit at worldnet.att.net
Fri Sep 4 14:11:38 CDT 2009
I agree with your statement " I cannot tell you how many times I've come
across museum specimens with an ID label bearing a species name which could
have any of a number of possible meanings depending on who did the ID, in
what year, and which key/revision they used." Museum collections often
contain labels with unpublished manuscript names (some of which now appear
on-line as available names), even in segregated type collections. Are you
telling me that if you wish to identify a specimen and you find a
conspecific specimen in a collection that you simply use that name? I can
understand how that might be necessary in sorting out a mass of material but
some workers do not bother to go back to the beginning when describing
related taxa (which may or may not be related - or even the same).
Keys are unfamiliar to me as they are rarely used in malacology.
I also do not understand Jim Croft's "lack of precision we have lived and
worked with since Linnaeus/Linne/L." Why bother to have a type concept if
types are not consulted when necessary? Was the study of natural history
more precise before the binominal system was introduced?
I will not bother you further with my evidently off-the-mark comments.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Yanega" <dyanega at ucr.edu>
To: <TAXACOM at MAILMAN.NHM.KU.EDU>
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 2:27 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Read... and believe...
> Richard Petit wrote:
>>I hope someone will post an explanation of: "If a specimen is named
>>but the taxonomic classification used in the naming is not specified
>>then it can't be know which taxon (of the multiple possible taxon
>>concepts for that name) it has been identified to."
> Actually, that is exactly how it works in real life. I cannot tell
> you how many times I've come across museum specimens with an ID label
> bearing a species name which could have any of a number of possible
> meanings depending on who did the ID, in what year, and which
> key/revision they used. Most often, it is old specimens IDed prior to
> subsequent revisionary work, that were never re-IDed. The other
> similar large subset is taxa with formally recognized subspecies, but
> for which an ID label is binomial - does that mean the IDer knew it
> was the nominate subspecies, or does it mean that they didn't believe
> in using subspecies names? Sometimes, it was the work of a taxonomist
> who did not examine type material, and therefore wrongly - and
> consistently - applied incorrect species names to specimens they
> examined, leaving a trail of mis-named specimens in every collection
> they visited (commonly thereby "contaminating" other specimens, when
> curators or other taxonomists use comparisons to *those* specimens to
> make IDs rather than using keys/descriptions).
> This sort of thing - not accepting ID labels at face value - is part
> and parcel of the curatorial side of specimen-based research, and
> Hyam is only pointing out the obvious. Yes, it's sad, but it's *true*.
> Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
> "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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