Shabby latin

richard a fagerlund fagerlun at UNM.EDU
Fri Dec 20 07:03:28 CST 1996

I have been reading the postings on shabby latin for a few days now.
I am not a botanist, I practice entomology.   I think in both zoology and
botany, that we have lost sight of exactly what the primary function of
a taxonomist is.  Simply, it is to provide names to organisms for future
use by research biologists and ecologists, nothing more, nothing less.

I believe a description should be thorough enough so the reader can
visualize the taxa without an illustration if necessary, but I also
believe whether there is a single latin word, or sentence, or if there
is one i or two ii's or if we use "and" or "&" is trivial and silly.
What use is a code that doesn't care whether a latin description is
unintelligible or not?  I believe that maybe both the zoological code
and botanical code need to be seriously revised or scrapped altogether.

A description should be clear and concise in any language the describer
chooses.  If I need to use his description, I'll get it translated.

I think we as taxonomists, take this business far to seriously.  Taxonomy
should be fun, not tedius and trivial.  If you find an undescribed
organism, describe it thoroughly and give it a name.  Lets get rid of all
this stuffy and nonsensical poppycock.  A few, simple rules of nomenclature
is fine, but some of this stuff is just silly.

We are naturalists that practice taxonomy for the sake of other biologists,
thats all.

Richard Fagerlund                    Mail: 993 Orchid SW
University of New Mexico                   Rio Rancho, NM 87124
E-mail: fagerlun at            Phone: (505) 896-2524

More information about the Taxacom mailing list