Species in Foraminifera

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    THE veteran palaeontologist, Frederick Chapman, who has retired from the National Museum at Melbourne and is now consulting palaeontologist to the Commonwealth of Australia, has contributed to the Melbourne Age (under the initials F.C. and under date February 8, 1936) a column headed “The Species Nightmare: an Absorbing Scientific Problem”. One of the oldest living authorities on the Foraminifera, trained under H. B. Brady, W. Kitchen Parker and W. Rupert Jones, whose assistant he was until his appointment to Melbourne, he deals with this difficult question, quoting Mr. Heron-Allen's communications to NATURE of July 14, 1934 and November 16, 1935. Frederick Chapman deals with it in connexion with other branches of palaeontology, and deplores what Heron-Allen termed “the commercialisation of Protozoology”, and his article, which is worth the serious attention of all systematists, but is too long to quote adequately, should receive careful attention. Mr. Heron-Allen is consulted by many of the rising school of petroleum geologists at the Natural History Museum, and, regard being had to the deplorable fact that their lists of species are now regarded as a ‘trade secret’ not to be divulged for the information of rival petroleum merchants, his advice to these young men is to adhere to the genera established by the great nineteenth century school, both in England and on the Continent of Europe, and to distinguish their species, for their own reference and guidance, only by numbers, or by letters of the alphabet, ignoring the thousands of names given to minor varieties by the American School. By this means they can save themselves an immense amount of labour and brain-fag, and their tabulated results are quite as useful as they would be if they were overloaded by a vast nomenclature which it is impossible -and unnecessary for the human brain to retain.

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