name for new genus

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Wed Feb 24 08:24:00 CST 1999

At 08:11 AM 02-24-99 -0800, Dick Jensen wrote:

>Yes, we have better things to do than to "quibble" about such matters.
>But remember, we must consider not just the legitimacy of what we are
>doing, we must also be aware of the appearance of what we are doing (as
>in, we must avoid even the appearance of evil).

Oh, I don't know.  "Scientists" are often perceived by the lay public as
sort of stuffy, overly serious, and self-absorbed.  An *occasional* dash of
whimsy here and there, where it really doesn't matter, could be a good
thing, making us seem more human, more approachable.  Names, after all, are
just handles.  My name, Thomas, is Hebrew (Aramaic?) and means twin. (aside:
what did they call his sibling?)   I have no twin so it certainly isn't very
descriptive of me.  Likewise, I'll wager your father's name wasn't Jens.  As
long as the name is euphonius and not too long and conforms to the Code,
it's okay by me.  (This from someone who has derived epithets from Hawaiian,
and coined names like Centropogon arachnocalyx).  If we can have a little
fun while we're at it, or honor some deserving party, so much the better.
Frankly, unless there is something *really* distinctive about a species, I
prefer that epithets *not* be descriptive.  I'm still looking for the spines
on Sida spinosa and trying to figure out why Campanula latifolia seemed to
be any wider-leaved than other Linnaean Campanulas.

Thomas G. Lammers

Classification, Nomenclature, Phylogeny and Biogeography
of the Campanulaceae, s. lat.

Department of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:    tlammers at
office:          312-922-9410 ext. 317 (voice-mail)
fax:                312-427-2530

"The most important thing to learn is how
   to teach yourself.  Everything else ...
   is just detail."
                                  -- Patrick Gibson

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