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

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Wed May 11 03:34:17 CDT 2016

Just as a point of clarification, the word "typeless" is very misleading in this thread.  All the names being discussed here have types (if they didn't, they wouldn't be available names).  Moreover, in none of these cases is an image the type (in zoology, images cannot serve as types). In all cases, we are talking about Code-compliant species names that have a properly designated type, which is an organism.

The issue is a question of the relative timing between the publication of a new name, and the loss or destruction of a name-bearing type specimen.  At one extreme, the type specimen is lost or destroyed prior to publication of the name.  At the other extreme, type specimens are still extant as preserved specimens.  The topic of this thread involves the former extreme -- when type specimens are lost or destroyed prior to the publication of the name.

Ultimately, essentially all type specimens will probably be lost or destroyed (no preservation method is perfect -- the best we can likely hope for is that the preserved specimen remains extant for a few centuries). While a lot of people seem extremely passionate about preventing cases where the type is lost or destroyed prior to publication, there does not seem to be a lot of concern expressed for cases where the type is lost or destroyed soon after publication. Would the people who strongly advocate for Code prevention or minimization of cases where the type is lost or destroyed prior to publication, also advocate for Code rules establishing minimum standards of specimen preservation?  If so, how would such rules be crafted?


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