Binomial elimination

David B. Wright wrightdb at PIGSTY.DENTAL.WASHINGTON.EDU
Fri Mar 17 14:35:15 CST 1995

On Fri, 17 Mar 1995, Curtis Clark wrote:

> Date sent: 17-MAR-1995
> David Wright wrote:
>  >An approach that would allow transition from the present system would be
>  >to "freeze" all species names on an arbitrary date
> That would be a bit of an inconvenience to those of us who describe new
> species, unless we could immediately begin to work under the new rules.
But of course.

> Why are coined names and combined names any better than numbers?

Because they are words, and not numbers.

>  >  The only thing that makes changing to a uninomial system
>  >impractical is resistance to change.
> The only thing that makes (elimination of endangered species/abolition
> of social security/closing down all the universities and museums and
> converting them into industrial parks) impractical is resistance to
> change.  That doesn't necessarily make these actions desirable.

The point is that dropping Linnaean binomials (which indicate membership
in a ranked taxon as part of a species' name) could work.  The message I
responded to suggested that it could not.  Many people believe that moving
to a rankless system would be desirable; that fact, and not mere
possiblity, is what makes it worth considering.

David Wright
dwright at

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