[tdwg-content] What is an Occurrence? [what about the "token"]

Nico Franz nico.franz at upr.edu
Mon Oct 18 01:10:18 CEST 2010

  Dear all:

    Interesting discussion. I meant to inject that, based on some 
version of a "causal theory of reference", it is not relevant at all 
that a contemporary identifier (a person) has actually read or is aware 
of an original description, for him or her to still be causally linked 
to that initial event of baptism through a chain of verbal and written 
communication, and thus in essence have knowledge of what species X's 
name according to authors Y and Z "means". Apologies for the convoluted 


    For downstream semantic resolution, imperfect but presumably 
congruent passing on of an original concept is relevant, as is the 
flagging of multiple causal chains of reference originating from two or 
more non-congruent concepts. I think that this might be the next state 
for semantic annotation in taxonomy (and yes, only real believers will 
do it at first), beyond the kinds of things already promoted and made 
reality mainly in ZooKeys; i.e. new revisions that come out and make 
clear distinctions between identifications, names, concepts, and their 
relationships to previous works.

Respectfully (I like that!),


Nico M. Franz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Director, UPRM Invertebrate Collection
Department of Biology
University of Puerto Rico
Call Box 9000
Mayagüez, PR 00681-9000

Phone: (787) 832-4040, ext. 3005
Fax: (787) 834-3673
E-mail: nico.franz at upr.edu
Laboratory website: http://academic.uprm.edu/~franz/
UPRM-INVCOL: http://uprm-invcol-project.tumblr.com/

On 10/17/2010 10:40 AM, Richard Pyle wrote:
>> Various TDWG'ers continue to argue that the original description
>> and subsequent revisions were really important in determining
>> what these individuals actually meant when they assigned a name
>> to a specimen, and that this is how we should model it in
>> excruciating detail.
> Most of the "TDWG'ers" that I know are FULLY aware that many "modern" taxon
> concepts are not congruent to the concepts as originally cirumscribed when a
> Code-compliant name was first established.  Obviously, the more recent the
> original description, the more congruent the original taxon concept will be
> to a "modern" concept.
> The reason why it's important to be cognizant of original descriptions of
> names is to ensrue that when one applies a taxon name to a modern concept,
> the modern concept includes within its circumscription the type specimen for
> the name that is used.  The original description is relevant primarily for
> nomenclatural purposes, and to ensure that a modern taxon concept does not
> exclude the type specimen for the name being applied to the modern concept.
> Subsequent revisions *are* important to modern concepts, because those are
> the places where real taxon concept definitions (e.g., the sort that are
> used when people construct keys) are documented.
>> For example, how many of the species observed in the recent
>> BioBlitz were identified by referring to the original
>> species description or subsequent revisions?
> Probably none.  More likely they were identified to field guides, and the
> field guides more than likely base their concept boundaries (=implied
> synonimies) on a (relatively) recent taxonomic work.
> Aloha,
> Rich
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