[Taxacom] Type specimen

Thomas Pape TPape at snm.ku.dk
Sat May 18 17:15:45 CDT 2013

The Code characterises "type series" at three different places:

ARTICLE 72.1.1. 
type series: all the specimens on which the author established a nominal
species-group taxon

ARTICLE 72.4.1.
The type series of a nominal species-group taxon consists of all the
specimens included by the author in the new nominal taxon

type series, n.
The series of specimens, defined in Articles 72.4 and 73.2, on which the
original author bases a new nominal species-group taxon.

NOTE that the GLOSSARY restricts the definition of type series to
Articles 72.4 and 73.2, and we know from Article 89.1. that "the meaning
attributed in the Glossary to a word or expression is to be taken as its
meaning for the purposes of the Code". This means that we should not be
using the wording of Article 72.1.1 in direct arguments about what is
the type series. 

Article 72.4.1 requires that the specimens forming the type series are
included "directly or by bibliographic reference". The issue then is
what is meant by specimens being included "directly" in a new nominal
species. It seems reasonable to me that of the cats Linnaeus may have
seen prior to 1758 not all would qualify as having been included
"directly" in his concept of the nominal species Felis catus. But
certainly some, perhaps even several, and probably more than those which
he decided to keep in his collection. As Francisco mentioned, it may be
difficult to "draw the line to exclude some and include others", which
is exactly why the 4th editin of the Code now requires that for nominal
species-group taxa established after 1999, "only those specimens
expressly indicated by the author to be those upon which the new taxon
was based are fixed as syntypes".


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Pyle
Sent: 18. maj 2013 21:26
To: 'Francisco Welter-Schultes'; 'Stephen Thorpe'
Cc: 'taxacom'
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Type specimen

Hi Francisco,

I either don't understand, or don't agree, with your point here:

> I do not agree with Doug's interpretation of the terms "included by" 
> as
> in contrast to "examined by".
> Art. 72.1.1 defines the type series as "all the specimens on which the
> established a nominal species-group taxon".
> > If one chooses to claim that every human being Linnaeus met during 
> > his lifetime was a syntype, then the same logic would apply to every

> > cat, dog, horse, chicken, sparrow, etc. that Linnaeus saw prior to 
> > publishing.
> The cats that Linnaeus saw himself before 1758 were in agreement with
> 72.1.1 and formed part of the type series, in my interpretation of the
> The cats that he saw after 1758 not.
> The intensity of examination and degree of thoroughness of study 
> cannot be a criterion for a nomenclatural status. Only presence and 
> absence can be a criterion.

I agree with Doug that "included by" does not mean the same thing as
"examined by".  Furthermore, the key word (in my opinion) in Art. 72.1.1
is "established".  Just because a person "sees" an organism, doesn't
mean that s/he necessarily "establishes" a new name on that organism.  I
do not agree, in the context of the wording of Art. 72.1.1, that
Linnaeus "established"
the name Felis catus on every individual cat he had ever seen prior to
Therefore, I do not interpret Art. 72.1.1 as including all such
specimens as being part of the type series.

Having said that, I'm a little uneasy on Doug's confidence in assuming
monotypy for H. sapiens.  I think it's reasonably unambiguous that
Linnaeus included himself as a member of H. sapiens sapiens, and it's
certainly clear that he had himself to examine when writing the
description.  However, I'm not so confident that we must conclude by
inference or implication that he was the only specimen on which the new
name was established.  I tend to lean more towards the Stearn


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