Binomial elimination

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Fri Mar 17 13:59:27 CST 1995

Date sent: 17-MAR-1995
Richard Zander wrote:
 >it as tomato (3488966600881-B) as an individual, and place it in the
 >group Solanum or Lycopersicon for the benefit of your fellow scientists,
 >who are the only ones who might care.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, our fellow scientists are not the only ones
that care.  Binomials are widely used by horticulturists, plant fanciers,
and such, and my impression is that most of them love binomials, although
they would prefer more nomenclatural stability.  One of my concerns about
major changes to biological nomenclature is that all the *users* of our
systems (other than us) may decide to hang on to the old one, because it
suits their needs better (or at least they think it does).  It doesn't
matter how good a system we might devise.  If no one else uses it, we
will have accomplished nothing.  An imperfect *common* system IMHO serves
biology better than a (near-)perfect exclusive one.

I'm not familiar with all the issues, but I think American English-language
bird names have some relevance here.  The AOU has established a parallel
nomenclature, with different rules and different intent.

Curtis Clark                                       Voice: (909) 869-4062
Biological Sciences Department                     FAX:   (909) 869-4396
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Pomona CA 91768-4032                               jcclark at

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