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Monograph of the Genus Erebia

Nature volume 139, page 265 (13 February 1937) | Download Citation



IT might be difficult to decide whether a description of much of the taxonomic work that has been and still is being done as merely careless can be regarded as lenient or just. It certainly would not be harsh. In the latter half of the eighteenth century it was not unusual for one author to tackle the whole’ of the natural world, and, considering the magnitude of the task and the degree of development of knowledge at the time, the result was at least comprehensive. Since that time, our knowledge has grown to such an extent that the size of the taxonomic group with which any single author can hope to grapple effectively has become more and more restricted, and the superficial character of much of the work that has been done has added so much to the labour involved in revising even a single genus, that the systematist confronted with the classification of a suborder no larger than the Rhopalocera may well stand dismayed at the prospect.

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