# [Taxacom] Random taxonomy

Knut Rognes knut at rognes.no
Fri Nov 29 09:55:58 CST 2013

```Thanks to all for replying outside and within the list.

My raising the question of random taxonomy was inspired by a real case
study. 43 specimens of blowflies was identified by a certain person. In the
person's country there are about 50 species of blowflies. All his
identifications was erroneous, except for one. My thought was then: Would a
robot have done better, given a label dispenser?

Some replies I have got suggest that the robot might have done a job as good
as the human.

Knut

-----Opprinnelig melding-----
Fra: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] På vegne av JF Mate
Sendt: 29. november 2013 16:26
Til: Taxacom
Emne: Re: [Taxacom] Random taxonomy

If I remember correctly, dependent probabilities in this case would be 1/n!.
So the p of picking the correct label at random for the first box is 1/50,
for 2 boxes back to back it becomes 1/(50*49) For all 50 p= 1/50! =
3.0414093e+64. However the exact conditions of the game will change the
results (is it 1 out of 50 tries or on the first try, or after X tries...)

On 29 November 2013 11:24, Knut Rognes <knut at rognes.no> wrote:
> Dear Taxacomers,
>
>
>
> I have a statistical problem.
>
>
>
> Consider 50 black boxes, within each is a specimen of fly. Each fly
> has been identified by someone, its name written on the inside of the
> box, but this is invisible to you. You cannot peek inside. Each fly
> belong to one of 50 possible species.
>
>
>
> You have at your disposal the 50 possible species names for these
> flies, each name printed on an adhesive label, the supply of printed
> labels for each name is limitless.
>
>
>
> Here is the game: you affix a random label on the outside of a random box.
>
>
>
> Now the problem: What is the likelihood that you put a correct label
> on the box, i.e. that the name on the label matches the identity of the
fly within?
>
>
>
> Knut Rognes
>
> Oslo, Norway
>
>
>
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>
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>
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.

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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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