[Taxacom] Type specimens of Homo sapiens

Chris Thompson xelaalex at cox.net
Fri May 17 20:26:27 CDT 2013

Sorry, Doug,

First, do examine the original description of Homo sapiens in Linnaeus 
(1758, Systema Naturae, page 20-24) and you will see some references to 
other works and you will see that he describes FIVE different variations of 
his species.

So, obviously Linnaeus based his description on many specimens.

And as Linnaeus gave NO type specimen information for ANY of his species 
descriptions, one merely must assume those specimens which today remains 
associated with Linnaeus, such as in his personal collection (now in London) 
are just SOME of the syntypes. But we do know he examined other specimens. 
So, for Homo sapiens, I would at least include his wife, kids, colleagues 
and friends, etc., as he clearly examined them and was familiar with them.

So, there is NO basis under the ICZN for an assumption of holotype by 
implied monotypy as there is ample evidence for syntypes.

Yes, one could or some one may have properly designated Linnaeus as a 
lectotype. Perhaps some reader my have a reference to such.



-----Original Message----- 
From: Doug Yanega
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 8:50 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Type specimen

On 5/17/13 5:38 PM, Andy Mabbett wrote:
> Which is the type specimen for Homo sapiens?
> _______________________________________________
Linnaeus is the holotype by implied monotypy. ICZN Chapter 16, Art
72.4.1 states: "The type series of a nominal species-group taxon
consists of all the specimens included by the author in the new nominal
taxon (whether directly or by bibliographic reference)". The important
things are that it says (1) specimens, and (2) "included by" not
"examined by". Then see Article - "For a nominal species or
subspecies established before 2000, any evidence, published or
unpublished, may be taken into account to determine what specimens
constitute the type series." and Article 73.1.2 - "If the nominal
species-group taxon is based on a single specimen, either so stated or
implied in the original publication, that specimen is the holotype fixed
by monotypy (see Recommendation 73F). If the taxon was established
before 2000 evidence derived from outside the work itself may be taken
into account [Art.] to help identify the specimen." Linnaeus
made no explicit mention of any specimens that would have been in
addition to his own person, so Art. taken together with 73.1.2
(an implied single specimen) resolves the issue of /Homo sapiens/ as
having a holotype by monotypy.

There are no syntypes, and no neotypes, despite claims of such that
appear in the literature (some published before the modern version of
the Code).

Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (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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