Priority rules

Wolfgang Wuster w.wuster at BANGOR.AC.UK
Thu Jan 11 17:19:24 CST 1996

On Thu, 11 Jan 1996, Joe Laferriere wrote:

> > Date:    Wed, 10 Jan 1996 09:33:04 -0400
> > From:    p stevens <p_stevens at NOCMSMGW.HARVARD.EDU>
> > Subject: nomenclature and the code
> > Why not restart the clock when a group is
> > monographed, to the effect that only names that are accepted in that
> > monograph have any nomenclatural standing?
> I share my good friend Peter's concern about the need to review very old
> names every  time one works on a group. If Peter can express this concern
> even with  Harvard's library at his disposal, think of all the people who
> must rely  on Interlibrary Loan to track down 18th and 19th Century
> publications.

I don't know about the Botanical code, but in the Zoological code, such
older synonyms can be discarded if they have not been used in the last 50
years, or if reintroducing them would seriously perturb a
well-established nomenclature.

At the moment, this requires an appeal to the International Commission on
Zoological Nomenclature, but if the currently proposed revisions are
integrated into the next edition of the ICZN, then synonyms not used as
valid for 50 years are automatically defunct. This is a particularly
useful proposition, as many systematists finding senior synonyms to
currently used names are reluctant to go to the Commission, and as a
result, many names are changed when this is not necessary. With these
changes to the ICZN, the spectre of overlooked senior synonyms will
hopefully be largely banished from the zoological literature.

> However, I see a major problem with his proposal in that it may be
> difficult to agree on what constitutes a monograph.

... and what's wrong with a series of papers on a group rather than a
monograph, anyway?
Wolfgang Wuster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, UK
e-mail: w.wuster at

Thought for the day: If you see a light at the end of the tunnel,
it is probably a train coming your way.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list