Failure to collect type specimens of new species considered harmful

A September 2016 letter to Nature defended the naming of new species without the traditional type specimen. Some months earlier, Nature had an editorial on the same subject.

A group of 493 concerned taxonomists responded by saying that type specimens were essential for objectivity and replicability. Nature would not publish their letter, and so it appeared in Zootaxa in November. And they are right, of course – even with the ability to go back and check preserved specimens (especially their DNA), taxonomy can be a tricky business. Without that ability, it would be a nightmare.


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