Fwd: Re: unique numbers for species

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Thu Oct 11 21:58:25 CDT 2001

Geoff Read wrote:

>  > Clytus marginicollis Laporte & Gory 1835
>>  Clytus marginicollis Castelneau & Gory 1835
>>  *We* may recognize that those pairs are the same, but will a
>>  computer?
>Gosh, if it doesn't there's something wrong with it, or its programming.
>They're on the face of it homonyms which should be obvious *even* to a
>computer, and there will be a rule to determine what happens next. At least
>the computer should say "beep beep ... what do I do with this one Boss?"
>Boss then consults his notes on the accepted formulation for Gory's 1935

They're not homonyms; that's precisely why I chose this example.
Castelneau is an alternate name for Laporte, just like Guerin and
Guerin-Meneville are the same person, Serville and Audinet-Serville,
Palisot and Palisot de Beauvois, Schultess, Schultess-Schindler, and
Schultess-Rechberg, Nartshuk and Nartschuk, Forster and Foerster,
Schonherr and Schoenherr, Low and Loew, and numerous other authors
who appear in multiple incarnations (and some of these may not even
*be* the same person; I'm not 100% certain). The end result -
combined with cases of alternate years of publication plus *genuine*
homonyms PLUS plain old typos (like your inadvertant "1935" above) -
is that your computer will go "beep beep" several THOUSAND times, and
it'll take you weeks to sort through the mess. The point remains,
original genus + original epithet + author + year does NOT
necessarily map on a one-to-one basis with taxon, and a stable system
needs to have absolutely consistent one-to-one mapping. Assign a
permanent number to each name associated with type material, and you
get one-to-one mapping.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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