Monday, 13 May 2013

PhD week 62: Detective work

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson discuss the intricacies of type specimens.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, and is in the public domain.

The foundation of biological taxonomy is formed by the designation of type specimens. These are specimens that were examined by the person who described the species in question, and which bear the name they proposed. They are important in that, in the event of confusion regarding the status of the name, the species represented by the type specimen gets the name. For more information on the categories and establishment of type specimens, read the wikipedia page linked to above, or the ICZN.

On this last trip to NZAC, I had the excitement of discovering some previously undetected type specimens, and the pain of realising that some types that should've been deposited there were either not present, or not adequately labelled. This required a degree of detective work involving checking original descriptions and specimen label data. The process is not yet completed, but progress it being made.

While I was in Auckland (and truth be told, the reason for the timing of this visit) I was able to catch Norma Jean playing at the Kings Arms Tavern on Friday. Compared with the Sydney concert, this was a more intimate show, featuring support bands that I know and love, and attended by people whom I hadn't seen for some time. Antagonist A.D. played with an intensity that belied their arrival from the USA that morning, and one wouldn't have guessed that it was Cold by Winter's first show in a good many years. The quality of the support was such that Norma Jean did not stand out as prominently as in Sydney. They played an excellent set, and it was great seeing them in NZ. Discussions after the show suggested that they may try and get here again in the near future, which will be amazing. If they don't make it, however, Friday was a worthy show by which to remember Norma Jean's visit to God's own country.

   Pine-Coffin RS (translator). 1961. The confessions of Saint Augustine Middlesex: Penguin

Fauna of Chile blog: Aegorhinus superciliosus

Star Trek (Original Series) Season One

Twelve weeks of Star Trek:
Star Trek (2009)

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