[Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed May 11 00:09:29 CDT 2016

It is curious that you see the situation as a reduction of information/data, when it can equally be seen as an expansion of the available methods for taxonomy, and the utilisation of data where it exits, even if only in a photo. While more data is preferable, if you only have a photo, why waste it? Maybe you can wait for more data, but it might be a long wait! Hopefully if more data does come, after description, it can be used to confirm/refute the original hypothesis. The lack of a type specimen does not necessarily preclude that, I don't think.

On Wed, 11/5/16, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy
 To: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 4:55 PM
 Not a ban, more like an
 overt show of displeasure. All the scenarios
 that you mention are true but they are just
 reductio ad absurdum:
 "...in practice a
 determined faker would have many options regardless.
 They could deliberately damage or even destroy
 the holotype, and the
 availability of the
 new name would be unaffected, with only the
 description and illustrations left to use for
 ID. " So your solution
 is less data?
 That is essentially what you are saying really. This is
 not like going from hand-drawings to high red
 colour pictures, this is
 going from a
 multivariate, potentially ever-expanding data matrix and
 collapsing it down to a bunch of pixels. I
 don´t care how good the
 pixels are, or who
 took them, or why they took them, the end result is
 data poor. We have a minimal description and
 that is it.
 If it weren´t
 because it comes on the coat-tails of Minteer et al this
 whole argument would probably be academic, even
 trivial. But the truth
 is that taxonomy
 isn´t flavour of the month; on the one hand various
 groups advocating no-take policies and on the
 other those spousing
 "efficient" approaches (DNA barcoding). In the end
 it is all the
 same, reducing multiple
 sources of information to one
 true/infallible/convenient/acceptable one. But
 nature is not definable
 by one axis and if
 collecting and descriptions based on physical
 evidence fall prey to ignorant bureaucracy or
 well-intentioned but
 foolish faux
 conservation, then we might as well give up and do
 something else because the vast majority of the
 world´s biota will be
 an indistinguishable
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