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An Introduction to Zoological Taxonomy and the Collection and Preparation of Zoological Specimens

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Abstract

Humans have an innate capacity to create categories and classify them according to particular characteristics. The attributes we refer to things and organisms have served as the basis for developing many classification systems, although taxonomy is the only one used to study biodiversity. Having access to biological diversity it is not a simple task, and investigators must know a series of prerequisites ranging from the collection and preparation of zoological material to their correct storage in scientific collections. The variety of collection and preparation methods for animal specimens is almost equal to the diversity of known taxonomic groups—although it is possible to consider general methods that can be applied to most taxa that will facilitate access by systematists, taxonomists, and nonspecialists alike to the information contained in those specimens. The objective of the present chapter is to present a short introduction to zoological taxonomy and explain the general methods used in collecting and preparing zoological material, in a manner that can be appreciated by nonspecialists. We also wish to provide sufficient orientation so that zoological material can be correctly deposited in scientific collections and supporting a better use of the information presented in the specimens by researchers from different areas, including ethnobiology.

Key words

  • Systematics
  • Methods
  • Zoological collections

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Acknowledgments

To Universidade Federal da Paraíba and Universidade Estadual da Paraíba for all the support. The last author would like to acknowledge to CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for providing a research fellowship.

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Vieira, K.S., Vieira, W.L.S., Alves, R.R.N. (2014). An Introduction to Zoological Taxonomy and the Collection and Preparation of Zoological Specimens. In: Albuquerque, U., Cruz da Cunha, L., de Lucena, R., Alves, R. (eds) Methods and Techniques in Ethnobiology and Ethnoecology. Springer Protocols Handbooks. Humana Press, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8636-7_12

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8636-7_12

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