italicized latin names

Thu Apr 4 20:58:35 CST 1996

John McNeill wrote:

>In fact, as the text appended to my earlier message noted, the reason
>that the editors of the ICBN decided to italicize ALL scientific names
>was ... to distinguish between a scintific name such as Uredinales and
>an English language appellation such as Fungi ...

I was going to say exactly the same thing, but then thought maybe I
should read the rest of the mail from TAXACOM first.  So now I'd just
like to add that this is a form of stylistic inflation.  Many authors
capitalize the formal higher taxonomic names (Papaveraceae) and use
lower case for names used informally.  But others, especially people
who aren't taxonomists/systematists, tend to capitalize all names of
taxonomic groups, whether formal or not.  So it becomes difficult to
recognize the *intended* taxonomic meaning of the name in many cases.

        Una Smith

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