[Taxacom] FW: Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Sun Jan 31 21:43:19 CST 2010

It would be naive to think that you can always make things better by solving individual problems. I agree that it would make the life of the "good taxonomist" easier if we disregard names by "bad taxonomists", but that is not the point. Actually, the situation with N.Z. beetles is similar to what you describe - Thomas Broun described thousands of them between 1880 and 1923, mostly on single specimens, and without a clear notion of variation. Just about all his types are in London - accessible, but less so than if they were here. I recall seeing a draft key by a now deceased N.Z. coleopterist which said "types not seen, identifications based on little more than inspired guesswork"! Perhaps it would be easier to disregard all Broun's names too, and start again? Then in a hundred years, after the invention of new techniques, they can throw out all our present names, and start over yet again! The problem is that the "good taxonomist"/"bad taxonomist" distinction is not clear cut ...

From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Dr. David Campbell [amblema at bama.ua.edu]
Sent: Monday, 1 February 2010 4:16 p.m.
To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] FW:  Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

For what it's worth, there are a number of self-publishing (or using
primarily non-taxonomic publishers who do not require peer review for a
new, expensive, book) authors in malacology who recognize as species
what most regard as individual variation, beginning at least in the mid-
1800's.  When someone doing careful work discovers good evidence for a
new species, tedious sorting through a pile of poorly differentiated
names is necessary to determine whether a name exists and, if so, what
it is.  So the problem does involve more people and taxa.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections Building
Department of Biological Sciences
Biodiversity and Systematics
University of Alabama, Box 870345
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0345  USA


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