Jennifer Mansfield-Jones (
4 Feb 1995 03:32:55 GMT

In article <3gqjui$>,
Phil Nicholls <> wrote:

>Typology is the reflection of Neo-Platonism into biology. Let's say
>you want to designate a new species of robin. You go out and shoot
>a robin and designate it the "type specimen" for robins. Of course
>you might have shot a creepy-looking robin as robins go.

Regardless of its philosophical underpinnings, typology is also
very useful in a practical sense. In the example above, you
might instead have shot an immature varied thrush (a previously
described species). The type specimen(s) offer future taxonomists
some hope of sorting out the mess you have just made in the
nomenclature. This sort of thing happens: dark-headed immature
bald eagles were initially described as a separate species from the