“A holotype is a single physical example of an organism known to have been used when the species was formally described. It is either the single such physical example or one of several such, but explicitly designated as the holotype.
Designation of an illustration of a single specimen as a holotype is to be treated as designation of the specimen illustrated; the fact that the specimen no longer exists or cannot be traced does not itself invalidate the designation.”
- Date April 2014
- Medium Graphite
- Dimensions 7.75 x 9.75 in
Holotype is a 25 page artist’s book drawn in graphite on Arches WC 90 lb. Hand bound, one of one. Digitally reproduced facsimile available.
Holotype emulates scientific literature and systems of hierarchy. This book is prefaced by the definition of the “holotype” as quoted above, a definition directly appropriated from scientific nomenclature. The holotype is a single individual specimen formally used to describe the species. In other words, an individual stands as the representative for a whole species – one gray squirrel is chosen as the gray squirrel. These holotypes are taxidermied with archival materials and their inner organs and skeletons are removed. Unlike the familiar mounted taxidermies of natural history museums, holotypes are not posed, but rather they lie flat in the same prone position, stored in drawers, relieved of any natural anatomy given to them by bones or musculature. The perceived action and glass eyes that capture life in the natural history dioramas are not a scientific necessity for holotypes.