2002 Volume 42 Issue 1 Pages 1-21
Given that the type specimen for a scientific name provides the objective standard of reference in taxonomic studies, the preservation of the type specimen remains the most fundamental method for proving or discovering facts thereafter. Since the Meiji Era in Japan, however, no attempt has been made to establish a Japanese National Museum of Natural History in order to maintain the type and other specimens and taxonomic literature (see Kaneko, 1998). A few institutions have published lists of the type specimens concerned (Kuroda, 1966; Endo, 1997, 1997, 1998, 2000), but no list of all scientific names and type specimens of mammals described by Japanese researchers is available, except for Imaizumi (1962), who published a list on the three orders of Insectivora, Chiroptera, and Primates up till 1950. In order to improve this situation in Japan, the authors have compiled a list of scientific names and the type specimens of mammals published by Japanese researchers until 2000. We have referred to all the original literature except for one case (*). New scientific names published are arranged in the order of the date of publication in the following mammalian orders: Insectivora, Chiroptera, Primates, Lagomorpha, Rodentia, Carnivora, and Artiodactyla. A name which is unavailable is noted as "nom. nud.", this being one which does not satisfy Articles 10-20 in the "International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (4th ed.)" published in 2000. "N.V." indicates that the current condition of the preservation of the specimens is unknown. As a result of this investigation, Japanese mammalogists have described 206 scientific names as new species or subspecies, as well as 60 unavailable names (Table1). Sixty-four type specimens (31.1%) have been preserved in various institutions. Fifty-seven type specimens (27.7%) have been lost or destroyed. There are 85 type specimens (41.3%) the whereabouts of which remain unclear. This situation is clearly inadequate for zoological studies, suggesting a need for the establishment of a new Japanese National Museum of Natural History.