[Taxacom] Read... and believe...
deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Sep 4 14:40:17 CDT 2009
Concerning my recent post to taxacom on this thread, I feel I should try to
pre-empt any misunderstanding by making it clear that I fully agree with you
on the importance of referencing types. Too often people do not do this,
and it contributes to the "mess" that exists out there in literature. In
Roger's defense(?), I believe he is talking about reconciling this existing
"mess". It would be nice to assume that every published reference to a
particular taxon name was backed by a proper investigation of the type
specimen; but the sad reality is that not all authors go this far. Indeed,
most do not. Hence the mess. Hence the desire to find a way to resolve the
mess. Hence Roger's lament that there is no "clean" or "precise" way to
resolve the mess.
Jim: You made reference to an 'interesting' solution by Roger, but I don't
see it in the quoted text. Maybe I should read the full blog before I
comment any further?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Petit
> Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 9:12 AM
> To: TAXACOM at MAILMAN.NHM.KU.EDU; Doug Yanega
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Read... and believe...
> 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 contain labels with unpublished manuscript names (some of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.
> dick p.
> ----- 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
> > 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*.
> > Sincerely,
> > --
> > 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)
> > http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
> > "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> > is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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