Binomial elimination

Stephen P. Rae srae at COMMUNITY.NET
Fri Mar 17 09:06:02 CST 1995

Stephen P. Rae  (srae at   Research Biologist
    1130 Cayetano Court                Environmental Resource Analyst
    Napa, CA  94559-4137               Bryologist
    USA                                Forester - Land Management Planner
    (707) 255-7546 (residence)
    (707) 257-2487 (MUSCI  -  BITS, BYTES & BUZZWORDS)
    (707) 257-2487 (modem) (FAX)

On Thu, 16 Mar 1995, David Wright wrote:

> Mike Simpson wrote:
> >16 March 1995
> >  I have no general problem with eliminating higher level ranks, but I
> >would seriously like to know how you propose to eliminate binomials.  I
> >see no better alternative myself but to work at making genera
> >monophyletic but retain the basic Linnaean binomial system.
> >  If you or anyone else out there would like to present a practical
> >example for replacing the binomial with another system, I'd like to see
> >it.
> >
> >-Mike Simpson
> An approach that would allow transition from the present system would be
> to "freeze" all species names on an arbitrary date and combine the
> then-current generic and trivial ("species") names into a single name.
> Another transitional approach that would result in shorter names would be
> use existing trivial names if they are unique, if they are not unique to
> use the first available genus name, and if none is available to coin a new
> name (perhaps by combining elements of the present generic and trivial
> names).  The only thing that makes changing to a uninomial system
> impractical is resistance to change.
> David Wright
> dwright at
I am not sure that resistance to change is the main reason for not
rushing to embrace the shorter name suggestion.  Perhaps the resistance
is based on the issue of functionality.  After all, the binomial system
serves a function in first designating unique names and second providng
some indication of relationship.

I suppose that the current data processing capabilities of the typical
research allow for the information content of a name to be stored
separately from a name. But, in the rush to change, are we going to
commit to a system that removes all semblance of relationships from the name?

Not being a taxonomist, I will leave this decision to those who attend
Botanical Congresses and the like.  However, being a using of whatever
nomenclature is in vogue, I can only hope that 'vogueness' is well
thought out!

More information about the Taxacom mailing list