[Taxacom] Why stability?

JF Mate aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
Thu Apr 30 06:33:53 CDT 2015


"The vast majority of species names are associated with just one
circumscription (=concept = taxonomic schema). ... if a species
circumscription was once broader than it is now, then it doesn't help
much to know that a specimen was identified historically as C=A+B,
because you still have to reidentify the specimen to determine if it
is A or B according to the current taxonomy. It only works the other
way around, but that is just called "synonymy"!"

Stephen, there is a profound difference between species concept (tied
to a type, for now at least) and identification. Even now material is
very commonly identified using literature which may be past its use by
date. Encouraging people to report their source is useful if we are to
interpret information into the future with any degree of confidence.

" Hence, there is a danger in increasing complexity across the board,
just to make a minority of cases easier to deal with.

 Ideally material from ecological or conservation studies would be
carefully preserved and catalogued so we can verify those records
decades hence. But we should be realistic and acknowledge that this
doesn´t happen as often as it would be desirable. Increasing the
accuracy of the data by recording a little bit of data seems like a
rather cheap solution to me.

Jason



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