[Taxacom] Homo sapiens

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jan 14 13:41:56 CST 2016

I draw people's attention once again to the prominent term 'ferus' which appears after the original description heading for Homo sapiens. It seems to me that Linnaeus only intended the name Homo sapiens to refer to "people in the wild". This would exclude him from the type series. The races (subspecies) that he gives names to represent all specimens which he intended the name Homo sapiens to apply to. There is no implied nominotypical subspecies. He only had indigenous people in mind.


On Fri, 15/1/16, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Homo sapiens
 To: "'Doug Yanega'" <dyanega at ucr.edu>, taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Friday, 15 January, 2016, 7:36 AM
 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. Thus, if we are to accept that Linnaeus
 included himself within H. sapiens sapiens (lacking blonde
 hair and blue eyes), then we can regard him as being part of
 the Type Series for that nominal species-group taxon. Note
 that there is no requirement that a "Type Series"
 consists of more than one specimen. There may be evidence
 that he examined and considered other bipedal homonids to be
 members of H. sapiens sapiens, or there may not such
 evidence.  But in any case, Linneaus the man can only be
 designated as the lectotype; not regarded as the
 If you disagree,
 then the heterogeny of interpretations by Commissioners
 expands, as you predicted.  If you agree, then perhaps we
 can take a small step towards consensus.
 Richard L. Pyle, PhD
 Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences |
 Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology | Dive Safety Officer
 Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum,
 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
 (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
 > -----Original
 > From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
 On Behalf
 > Of Doug Yanega
 > Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2016 7:36
 > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Homo sapiens
 > On 1/14/16 8:46 AM,
 Michael Reuscher wrote:
 > > In
 Addition to Linnaeus not "expressly" excluding any
 "specimens" as
 > > types,
 Linnaeus does not fit his own description of Homo sapiens
 > > europaeus because this subspecies was
 described with "Pilis
 > >
 flavescentibus, prolixis. Oculis caeruleis" - meaning
 blonde hair and
 > > blue eyes.
 Linnaeus had brown hair and brown eyes. Therefore he was
 > > designated the "type
 specimen" of another
 > >
 subspecies: Homo sapiens sapiens.
 > I get such a kick out of this
 thread every time it crops up, because it seems
 > impossible to put it to rest, as Mike Ivie
 noted. You line up 5 ICZN
 Commissioners, you'll get 5 different opinions. To
 illustrate my point, I'll give
 > a
 different answer from everyone else who has already posted,
 including 2
 > other Commissioners:
 > "*7**2.4.1.*
 The type series of a nominal species-group taxon consists of
 > the specimens included by the
 author in the new nominal taxon (whether
 > directly or by bibliographic reference),
 except any that the author expressly
 excludes from the type series [Art. 72.4.6 <http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted-
 > or refers to as distinct variants (e.g. by
 name, letter or number), or doubtfully
 attributes to the taxon.
 > ** For a nominal species or
 subspecies established before 2000, any
 evidence, published or unpublished, may be taken into
 account to determine
 > what specimens
 constitute the type series."
 > Given this definition of what constitutes
 the type series, (1) Linnaeus gave no
 indication as to any physical specimens whatsoever, for ANY
 of the variants
 > of Homo sapiens, so
 there is nothing we can determine under
 72.4.1 - however, since allows us to retroactively
 use ANY
 > EVIDENCE to determine the type
 series, we can, in fact, infer that at the very
 > least, Linnaeus had ONE specimen that he
 MUST have examined when
 > describing H.
 sapiens: himself. As such, I maintain that his remains can
 > should be interpreted as the
 holotype, rather than the lectotype.
 > The only "issue" I see here
 is that some people argue that every person
 > Linnaeus ever met is a putative syntype
 (therefore Stearns' lectotype
 designation could be accepted), but I find the logic faulty:
 we do not consider
 > every cat that
 Linnaeus saw in his lifetime, or every dog, or every horse,
 > every chicken, or every goat, or
 every pig, as members of the type series for
 > those species. To me, one must limit the
 type series of H. sapiens to
 > specimens
 we *know* he had available to him for examination when he
 > writing the description, for the
 same reason you would not simply and
 arbitrarily say that every dog Linnaeus ever saw was a
 syntype of Canis
 > familiaris - *there is
 no such evidence*. If we have *no evidence* that he
 > examined any other particular humans while
 writing his description, then his
 > own
 person is all we know *beyond any
 doubt* that he had available, and a type series of one
 specimen equals a
 > holotype.
 > I'm sure others
 will disagree, and likewise sure that this topic will come
 > again and again and again, never to
 be resolved.
 > --
 > 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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