[Taxacom] Read... and believe...

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Sep 4 15:27:46 CDT 2009

Actually, the one thing that would have made this whole situation a LOT
easier, is if whenever anyone identifies an organism (whether as a specimen,
a photograph, an observation, in literature, etc.) they took the time to
explicitly note which concept circumscription they were following (i.e., the
bit after the "sec" in the examples I posted earlier).  Simply attaching a
name to an organism is much better than nothing, but further qualifying in
what sense of that name (i.e., what specific circumscription) gives us a LOT

Whenever I consult with people developing any sort of database that involves
taxon identifications (of specimens, observations, photos, etc.), I always
tell them to include a field for a published usage of that name as a
reference to what taxon concept/circumsctiption the person making the
identifiction had in mind meant when they applied the name to the organism.
When they are experts in the taxon, then surely they know of a published
reference they can cite that used the same taxon circumscription the expert
had in mind (or if it's a new circumscription, then they should at least
make a note of "sensu me, not yet published").  When they are not experts,
then they most likely are using some sort of published field guide or key to
arrive at the name.

We'd still have a mess at the level of precision that Roger was on about;
but at least it would be a much more tractable mess.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Mary 
> Barkworth
> Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 9:45 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Read... and believe...
> If specimens could only be identified/annotated by people who 
> had examined the type specimen and read the relevant 
> protologue, there would be few collections with identified 
> specimens. I cannot speak for other organisms, but in 
> vascular plant taxonomy in areas it is not too hard to find 
> out what was meant by a name. The best thing to start by 
> doing is find out what references were probably used in an 
> area or by an individual. Going forward, however, it would 
> help if we all adopted the practice of adding sensu ... And 
> cite a reference used - a person if one is working from a 
> published paper. But to think, as one person with whom I 
> corresponded with several months ago seemed to think, that we 
> can retrospectively add taxon concepts more easily than 
> re-identify a specimen is nuts. 
> Mary
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with 
> either of these methods:
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:  
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here

More information about the Taxacom mailing list