[tdwg-content] New terms need resolution: "Individual"

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Jul 19 08:26:06 CEST 2011

> But Hilmar recommended a companion list of things not in the class. What
> some of those?

Right -- sorry!

Well, plenty of things are not in the class (Localities, dates, etc., etc.).
But more specifically, I would say that any circumscription of organisms
that is based on an intensional definition (sensu Régine) would be excluded
(and would instead be covered by the "Taxon" class). That is, if a set of
organisms is defined by properties, rather than by specific members, it
would be excluded from this class.  Also excluded from this class would be
an organism or set of organisms bounded by time or space.  What I mean by
this is that the temporal scope of an organism instance begins when the
organism(s) is/are born, and ends when the organism(s) disintegrates (I
didn't want to say "die", because a dead specimen is still an organism, in
my option -- but a disintegrated specimen is not).  Also, one cannot define
an instance of organism dynamically via space and time, such as "all whales
off Maui during the winter months", as the members would change year after

This reasoning would tend to exclude "population" from this class; but if
population also is excluded from Taxon, then I don't know how one would
represent an instance of a population via DwC.  Surely there is an
informatics need to track/monitor/analyze sets of organisms defined by
"population".  But how would one represent such a unit in DwC?  If not as a
Taxon, and not as an Organism, then how would one instantiate a "population"
and assign properties to it?  Another new class, perhaps?  That would make
me squeamish.

Incidentally, I have been using the term "Organism" consistently to refer to
this class; but as I said previously, I am reasonably open-minded to what
the term should be (as long as it doesn't include the word "taxon", and only
if there is broad community consensus if it includes the words "Instance" or


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