[Taxacom] Homo sapiens

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Thu Jan 14 13:21:06 CST 2016

On 1/14/16 10:36 AM, Richard Pyle wrote:
> Hi Doug,
> One issue with your interpretation that Linnaeus can serve as the Holotype: Holotypes must be designated within the original work (Art. 73.1.3). Linneaus neither stated nor implied in the original publication that the species-group taxon is based on a single specimen, so we cannot retroactively infer him as the holotype by monotypy (Art. 73.1.2).  The "ANY EVIDENCE" (your emphasis) component of Art. can only be used in the context of name-bearing types fixed subsequently.
Actually, that's not true: 73.1.2 explicitly cross-references 
and says that external evidence CAN be used to subsequently identify the 

" 73.1.2. If the nominal species-group taxon is based on a single 
specimen, either so stated or implied in the original publication, that 
specimen is the holotype fixed by monotypy (see Recommendation 73F 
If the taxon was established before 2000 evidence derived from outside 
the work itself may be taken into account [Art. 
to help identify the specimen."

I was applying the "holotype by implicit monotypy" argument in this 
case, as you note, and I read this Article as supporting that 
interpretation. Like I said, if you can't positively identify any 
syntypes, and none were mentioned, then it IS implied (to me) that the 
species was based on one specimen, which therefore is the holotype by 
default under 73.1.2. Mike Ivie objects to the fact that Linnaeus' 
physical corpus is effectively lost, but since we can't legally 
designate a neotype, that's irrelevant - lots of species have lost types 
that can't be replaced until and unless there comes to be a serious 
dispute about the taxon's identity.

How many syntypes can dance on the head of a pin? ;-)


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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