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ID conundrum - how old is too old?
01-13-2012, 03:17 PM,
ID conundrum - how old is too old?
I'm currently looking through the book lent to me, "seashells of north America" by Abbott, circa 1968.  I am extremely disappointed with it so far.  Not only is the amount of info on each group seriously lacking (honestly, five shells out of an entire group/family is not at all useful, imo) but the amount of information that is WRONG is driving me nuts!

Now, please bear with me that I'm, of course, using the internet to look up the info in the book and see if it's accurate/current, so there may be errors here and there.  But it is a conundrum to say the least.  With how frequently science changes, especially now that we can use DNA and find out more about species than ever before in the past, when does it get to the point where information is just too old? 

Many of the problems with the book so far, for example, are family names that have changed (such as trichotropidae now called capulidae, or vitrinellidae now called tornidae), species that have been moved into either different families or brand new ones (star arene, seila), spelling changes, etc.  Many of these changes have only apparently happened over the last 7 or so years, when this book is 44!  What is also driving me nuts is that for some reason Abbott felt the need to continually plop a single shell, at random, onto a page that has nothing to do with that shell, like a member of the harp family on the helmet page Sad

Taxonomy is an extremely challenging thing to get into, and in my personal opinion, especially in the sciences, getting things current and accurate is something that should matter.  Otherwise, why bother changing anything at all, why not just keep whatever Linnaeus thought was good 200 years ago, new info be damned?

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ID conundrum - how old is too old? - by wateryworld - 01-13-2012, 03:17 PM

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