Dandy Dime

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Wed Apr 2 09:18:11 CST 1997


At 07:11 AM 04-02-97 -0700, JOSEPH E. LAFERRIERE wrote:

>1), the problem the gag addresses is
>real. The ICBN as currently worded leaves nomenclature open
>to paid ads in popular magazines (if not newspapers) and
>other minor publications being considered published. This
>needs to be corrected.

I disagree.  It does not seem to be a current problem.  I am unaware of
large numbers of nomnenclatural innovations having been published as paid
ads (aside: is there a moral difference between a paid ad and paying page
charges?)  in obscure popular periodicals.   I base this on experience.  I
have just completed a thorough search of  names accepted since 1940 in
taxonomic literature for species of Campanulaceae s. lat.  This is a good
representative angiosperm group,  as it  is found on the six vegetated
continents and many archipelagoes, has had  names created from the very
start of Code-covered naming, and is popular with horticulturalists.   I
accept 2400 of these names and treat another 1500 as synonyms.  I have found
the protologs of all but about 90 of these nearly 4000 names in the
libraries of Field Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, and New York Botanical
Garden.  None of the few remaining names (nor any of those alreadfy  found)
is in a  popular periodical anything like the Dandy Dime.  Obscure some may
be, but they are legitimate venues that are available somewhere in the
botanical community (Incidentally, if anyone would like to help track down
these last few problem-children, I would be more than happy to e-mail you
the list, and eternally grateful for any help provided).

It should neither be a future problem, if the new provisions of Art. 32
regarding registration are approved by the next International Botanical
Congress.   The registration authority could refuse to accept such things.
Alternatively, if they are not so empowered, the protologue would be
permanently available via the registration authority, just as available as a
protologue in Syst. Bot. or Kew Bull.,  and so also present no problem.

In fact, it just now occurs to me that perhaps someday, the Registration
office would develop into the place of publication itself!  A center where
all protologues would be deposited and made available over the internet, via
CD-ROM, or via hard-copy printouts.  Perhaps someday publication will be
effected simply by deposition of the required documents (Latin diagnosis,
indication of a type) with the Center, rather than by setting anything to
paper!   Taxonomists could then access these documents via the Web, or
request prhotocopies, to be covered by nomibnal fees.  As long as the Center
was ironclad secure and sure of funding in perpetuity (or as sure as one can
be in this world), it could work.

>3) I have tried submitting to Taxon formal proposals for
>changing the ICBN. My attempts have gotten nowhere.

I think this bears more explanation.   Perhaps it might be worthwhile to
discuss the proposed changes here on Taxacom (with apologies to
non-botanists).  If they do address serious problems, this is a forum in
which to hash them out.
>
>4) The "anonymous author" of the ad alluded to previously
>is actually my pet bunny, Velvet. She is responsible for many
>hare-brained schemes around here.

I am chagrined to find that I have publically castigated a lagomorph,
particularly in the Easter season.  (No wonder there were no marshmallow
creme chocolate eggs in my basket!)  Seriously, I am pleased that Joe has
stepped forward and accepted responsibility for the effort.  Dick Jensen's
correspondence suggested as much, but I believe in taking people at their
word.   It is certainly much easier to accept the motivation for the entire
episode when one knows it was the work of an earnest colleague than when one
thinks it was the work of an anonymous practical joker outside the
systematics community.  I still disagree with the method, but at least I can
now respect its author.   (And I'm glad that from Joe's perspective, the
"court jester" appellation was not repugnant but rather seen as appropriate).


**************************************************************************
Thomas G. Lammers
Department of Botany                     Classification, Nomenclature,
Field Museum of Natural History          Phylogeny and Biogeography
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive       of the Campanulaceae
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at fmppr.fmnh.org
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317

"I make no pretense of equal time for opposing views.
 For other points of view, read other authors."
                                                                     --
Arthur Cronquist




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