Farewell to Species

Richard Zander rzander at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Mon Jan 31 14:20:58 CST 2000

I wonder if others might have some comments on the two recent papers in Systematic Biology 48(4):

Phylogenetic taxonomy, a farewell to species, and a revision of .... by Pleijel,
Species names in phylogenetic nomenclature, by Cantino et al.

This are amazing papers, and I feel the weight of the future. Sure, Linneus' popularization of binomial nomenclature made life both easier and harder with the genus name. Name changes that depend on notions (intuitive or analytic) of which grade the species should go into are tedious and exasperating, and a uninomial is something to be wished for at times late at night when poring over one's Code. The genus name is definitely a help, however, in everyday tasks since it functions as a (Latinized) vernacular name. A grade is a phenomenal guide to organized thinking when dealing with most problems involving species, and surely is, then, annoying only to the most avant-garde.

Okay, here is a scenario: Suppose Linnean genus names are thrown out to the extent that we decide not to be "correct" but still be legal. We follow our Codes, but use the basionym in all scientific literature. Progressive editors may allow (except in original descriptions) basionyms to be run-on or hyphenated to make uninomials. This works. Or does it? Imagine a paper written about biogeography, ecology, floristics or even taxonomy that uses only basionyms. 

Is there a middle way?  

Richard H. Zander
Curator of Botany
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Pkwy
Buffalo, NY 14211 USA
email: rzander at sciencebuff.org
voice: 716-895-5200 x 351


More information about the Taxacom mailing list