Priority and Common Sense

Robin Leech robinl at NAIT.AB.CA
Wed Jul 3 07:52:45 CDT 1996

I agree with Steve Shattuck in the main, but I feel that 23(b) is a vent
that allows scientists to use judgement.  Thus, application of 23(b) is
not black or white.  Perhaps this is the problem - a scientist does not
have an absolute to follow, or to fall back onto, in the event of

We in araneology solved the problem in part by petitioning, and having
accepted, the names proposed in Clerck's 1757 Aranei Svecici over and
above those used in Linnaeus' 1758 Systema Naturae.  For each species,
Clerck gave a page or more, often two pages, of description in Swedish
and Latin, plus a colored figure of one or more diagnostic features.  It
is too bad that Linnaeus did not simply use the names proposed by Clerck,
but I suppose it meant that Linnaeus would have had to change names he
had used in the 9th edition of Systema Naturae.

I suppose also that there are a few who considered that the change in name
for the North American wapiti (elk) from CERVUS CANADENSIS to CERVUS ELAPHUS
constituted an instability.  Funny, the change was done only a few years
ago, but I know of no one who retains or uses the junior synonym, and all
of the previous, and this, generation of students have a stable system,
which is priority-based AND use-based, to follow.  Among the older folk I
think there is peer pressure "to be up with it and not be behind the
times", and perhaps a realization that the right thing was done.

Funny also how Article 23(b), in both the 2nd and 3rd ICZNs, is
contentious - just an observation.

Robin Leech

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