[Taxacom] Type specimen
fwelter at gwdg.de
Mon May 20 19:04:55 CDT 2013
ICZN Opinion 1368 (1985): the name Homo troglodytes Linnaeus, 1758
referred to both species, humans and orang utans.
This Homo sapiens case works perfectly under the Code.
Also "americanus" did not refer to all people living in the Americas, but
only to some. European, African and Asian descendants living in the
Americas would not belong to that subspecies. People living in Europe and
who did not have blond hair and blue eyes, cannot unambiguously be
assigned to H. s. europaeus. Linnaeus defined the subspecies
morphologically, not by regions. This is clear from the descriptions.
If you remove H. sapiens sapiens from the candidate subspecies, then North
Africans, Near East people, Arabians and most southern Europeans would not
belong to any one of the described taxa, much less those people whose
descendents came originally from two or more different continents (as for
example many people from Caribbean islands, Mexico or Colombia).
What Linneaus did was what many malacologists still do today: he described
some extreme forms as subspecies and left it open to define the exact
lines between them. If you intend to determine the name of a population in
between you can only determine the species, not the subspecies. A very
frequent problem in mollusc studies, nothing very special.
So any person that did not exactly fit the description of one of the
variants can be selected as type for H. sapiens. It could be selected a
Mexican person, an Ethiopian person, a Somali person, an Algerian person,
a southern European person, or a northern European person who did not fit
exactly the description of H. s. europaeus. The last option was what
Stearns 1959 did.
I would not say Stearns selected a "typical" representative of H. s.
sapiens. But this is not demanded for a valid type selection.
No need for the Commission to publish a decision here.
> OK, finally Francisco has explained his argument clearly enough to
> understand it! Or at least one line of it, as there appear to be two
> interwoven strands. This line of argument effectively says that Linnaeus
> *didn't* partition Homo sapiens into named variants, it left some material
> unassigned - material which therefore is eligible to be type material for
> the nominal species. Specifically, this line of argument seems to claim
> that although Linnaeus was himself from Europe, he is not to be understood
> as a member of Homo sapiens europaeus, according to Linnaeus'
> classification, because he does not agree with the morphological
> description. Rather, Linnaeus was a "typical" Homo sapiens, living in
> Europe, within the range of H. sapiens europaeus! So, it is argued,
> Linnaeus himself is eligible for lectotype designation.
> Sorry, I don't buy it! If we actually look at the original description of
> Homo sapiens (and the genus Homo), it has the following structure:
> Homo new genus
> 1. Homo sapiens new species [diurnally active, refers to mankind]
> 1.0.? named variety ferus? [if not intended to be a named variety, then
> perhaps Linnaeus intended the name Homo sapiens only to refer to humans
> "living wild", in which case he would have excluded himself from the
> nominal species??!!]
> 1.1. named variety americanus
> 1.2. named variety europaeus
> 1.3. named variety asiaticus
> 1.4 named variety afer
> 1.5 named variety monstrosus
> 2. Homo troglodytes new species [a nocturnal ape, possibly referring to
> the orangutan?]
> My only conclusion is that trying to "shoe horn" this complexity into a
> post-Linnean Code governed system of nomenclature is pointless! It is
> trying to force square pegs through round holes! However, there is no
> problem, since the name Homo sapiens is universally agreed upon to refer
> to one particular species. We should just continue to use the name for our
> species and ignore the above complexity. The Code cannot be applied to
> this case, because it is a classic example of a problem case, which is
> just too vague and unclear to make any real sense of. There is no need for
> a type specimen of type series, so we should not be forcing post hoc
> interpretations of Linnaeus to try to allow for the possibility of types
> under the Code. Only the Commission could designate a type for Homo
> sapiens, under its plenary powers, but there is no need to do so...
> From: Francisco Welter-Schultes <fwelter at gwdg.de>
> To: Paul van Rijckevorsel <dipteryx at freeler.nl>
> Cc: taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, 21 May 2013 1:11 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Type specimen
> Once again, I agree absolutely with Commissioner Thomas Pape and with the
> interpretation given on the ICZN website in this issue.
> The term "variants" refers to subspecies, varieties or infrasubspecific
> entities. There can also be variants of noninterrupted variability or
> polymorphism. The term covers everything that is distinct and works as the
> equivalent of "doubtfully included" rule concerning type species in the
> genus-group taxa.
> Yes, it would be good to have this term explained in the Glossary. Any
> suggestions for a good wording? Thomas?
> Back to Stephen's concerns.
> Linnaeus established Homo sapiens and included various taxa at subspecific
> rank: H. sapiens sapiens, H. sapiens europaeus, H. sapiens americanus and
> others. It was not necessary that Linnaeus stated explicitly that H.
> sapiens sapiens was a variety or subspecies carrying this rank, because
> Linnaeus gave a description for H. sapiens, so the subspecific rank H.
> sapiens sapiens was automatically covered by the Principle of Coordination
> (Art. 46.1).
> I agree with Stephen that Linnaeus subdivided H. sapiens into distinct
> variants (Paul: instead of variants we can say subspecies in this special
> case) which had their own types, but I clearly do not agree with his
> argument that H. sapiens sapiens did not belong to these variants.
> The specimens that were meant to belong to H. sapiens europaeus and H.
> sapiens americanus were not meant to belong to H. sapiens sapiens. These
> specimens were excluded from belonging to H. sapiens sapiens by Art.
> I think Stephen's great misunderstanding consists in that H. sapiens
> europaeus would cover all Europeans, including Linné himself. This has
> already been explained in a previous mail here, a few days ago. Such an
> interpretation would not be covered by the Latin descriptions. H. sapiens
> europaeus covered only a few Europeans, but not all. The other Europeans,
> which did not fit the description of H. sapiens europaeus (because they
> did not have these very special morphological features), were meant to
> belong to H. sapiens sapiens. Among those was Linné himself. Linné himself
> did clearly not belong to H. sapiens europaeus.
> As to the Aus xus example given by Thomas: there is a real-life equivalent
> in European molluscs for that case, more than half a dozen well-known
> European molluscs have this problem. Malacologists are fighting a
> permanent dispute, usually not on the names, but on the authorships and
> dates of these species. Examples are Caracollina lenticula, Elona
> quimperiana, Xerocrassa cretica. I belong to those who agree with Thomas
> Pape's interpretation of the Code. As said in a previous message a few
> days ago here, I have left a note in 2008 in Gary's ICZN-Wiki to fix this
> problem in the next edition of the Code. Exactly in the sense of the
> interpretation outlined by Thomas in his previous message in this thread.
>> From: "Thomas Pape" <TPape at snm.ku.dk>
>> Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 12:22 AM
>>> Another part of you argument is tied to Article 72.4.1 and the
>>> that the type series of a nominal species-group taxon excludes any
>>> specimens "that the author [...] refers to as distinct variants".
>> What does the word "variant" mean here? (it is not in the Glossary);
>> if it means "subspecies" (and/or "variety") then Stephen Thorpe's
>> interpretation would seem to be right, unless "refers to as distinct
>> variants" means something different from "refers to distinct variants"
>> (i.e. a specimen-is-a variant versus a specimen-belongs-to-a-variant)?
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> Francisco Welter-Schultes
> Zoologisches Institut, Berliner Str. 28, D-37073 Goettingen
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> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
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> (2) a Google search specified as:
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
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Phone +49 551 395536
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