[Taxacom] Why Australians are more real than Americans: implications for taxonomy!

dipteryx at freeler.nl dipteryx at freeler.nl
Mon Sep 7 03:28:59 CDT 2009

Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Stephen Thorpe
Verzonden: ma 7-9-2009 4:16

>I think the list can benefit from new angles on old and tired 
>debates, so I am replying to the list, despite your advice that 
>this will just bore people to death! 

It looks to me that the list would benefit by not overdoing it.
FWIW, my summary:
* a "species" is what a taxonomist says it is
* a "good species" is what the community of taxonomists says it is

In how far either will match entities in reality is a different
matter. The big issue here is the (often) severe lack of accurate
(informed) observations, especially in nature, through the 
life cycle of organisms. Working only with preserved specimens, 
and a limited selection at that, is a severe restriction. Very
many taxa would benefit by a re-examination, by newly-informed eyes 
and with new techniques and technology, resulting in new pictures: 
the taxonomic impediment. 

For much-observed taxa like North American birds the situation 
is quite different than from a tree from the rain forest, known 
only from the type collection.


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