[Taxacom] Fly Digital Impresion same as fossil impression in rock

Scott L. Gardner sgardner1 at unl.edu
Thu Oct 8 21:53:45 CDT 2015

Hi, All:

It seems that an image of a fly is the same thing as a fossil 
impression. It is simply an impression of light on pixels, and if it was 
film, it would be the impression of light on silver crystals (sort of). 
Preserve the image as well as the fossil impression (by printing and 
holding in a museum) or by archiving the image in a permanent database 
(are there such things?) and should be good to go - using the same 


On 10/8/2015 9:43 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> I really hate the way that distinct issues are being conflated on this matter! The essence of the matter has nothing to do with photographs, but with preservation of primary types. Can you describe a new species without preservation of the (designated) primary type? Whether you include a photo, or a drawing, or just provide written description is not the issue. But there are two distinct scenarios: (1) your description is based on examination of the primary type, which is then discarded; or (2) you only know the primary type by way of a photo. In this case (the fly), we have scenario (2). Sure, just having a photo is nowhere near as good as having a whole specimen, but then having a fossil is nowhere near as good as having a freshly killed specimen. So, given a choice, one would prefer to have a freshly killed specimen, and one would prefer to preserve it indefinitely. But, if you only have a fossil, or only have a photo, and you have at most only a slim
>   chance of ever getting hold of a freshly killed specimen, then it makes sense to make the most of what one does have. Hence, species are described based on fossil impressions in rock, cloudy amber inclusions, etc. So why not a photograph of a living specimen? Whether Marshall & Evenhuis should have waited to see if new material could be obtained is a moot point. There may not have been any real need to describe this fly now, except to feed the fires of Pensoft's desire for publicity. But these are all distinct issues to be weighed up and thought about. Knee jerk reactions against describing new species from photos really isn't helpful.
> Stephen
> --------------------------------------------
> On Fri, 9/10/15, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:
>   Subject: Re: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
>   To: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>   Received: Friday, 9 October, 2015, 3:00 PM
>   Dean:
>   “There seems to be a negative reaction to the term "dead
>   bodies" for animals
>   that are preserved in museum collection. I find that
>   curious.”
>   I have never seen this term used in journals, which makes me
>   suspect
>   it was used as click-bait. It is not a direct way to explain
>   things to
>   “non-native” speakers, it is a catchy title plonked
>   there in the hopes
>   that BBC or CNN will report the paper (as they sometimes
>   do). But
>   publicity in a matter like this could have unintended
>   consequences. It
>   is already hard enough collecting “dead bodies”, imagine
>   if you give
>   them (PETA, WWF, any bureaucratic body,...) ammo through
>   scientific
>   legitimacy.
>   “As to whether it's worth putting a name to a
>   distinctively new species,
>   isn't that rather the whole point of nomenclature?”
>   You misunderstand me Dean. The point I am trying to make is
>   that, if a
>   particular species is doomed, keeping a couple of pictures
>   is pretty
>   much useless other than serving to name something.
>   Nomenclature is
>   important because it is the bedrock of something (biology,
>   ecology,
>   etc). Otherwise it is just a rock, a list of names (and you
>   wouldn´t
>   even be certain that the list is correct nor have the means
>   to check).
>   And physcial specimena or, lacking that, tissue samples,
>   contain the
>   information that gives “value” to the name.
>   With a physical specimen I can not only verify the original
>   hypothesis
>   in the future, but also access a large amount of
>   information
>   pertaining to the species itself (biology, phylogenetics,
>   feeding,
>   etc). With a photograph I only have pixels, and they will be
>   the same
>   pixels forever.Its value as a store of information
>   diminishes with the
>   passage of time whereas physical specimens become more
>   valuable (DNA,
>   X- ray microtomography are just two recent examples I can
>   think of).
>   Photographs should be, IMO, a last resort when faced with no
>   other
>   choice, and to me this fly isn´t such a case. Fast and
>   loose is a
>   slippery slope to aliens and Nessie.
>   Best
>   Jason
>   _______________________________________________
>   Taxacom Mailing List
>   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>   The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
>   Celebrating 28 years of Taxacom in 2015.
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Celebrating 28 years of Taxacom in 2015.


Scott Lyell Gardner, Ph.D.
Curator and Professor
Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology
W-529 Nebraska Hall
University of Nebraska State Museum and
School of Biological Sciences
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0514

e-mail:      slg at unl.edu
Web:         http://hwml.unl.edu
ASP Page: http://asp.unl.edu

Phone:    402-472-3334
Fax:         402-472-8949
Cell:        402-540-9310

"If we don't work to describe and conserve biodiversity now,
our descendants will be very upset."  -slg


More information about the Taxacom mailing list