FW: unique numbers for species

Derek Sikes dss95002 at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU
Fri Oct 12 10:16:04 CDT 2001

> ----------
> From: "Panza, Robin" <PanzaR at CARNEGIEMUSEUMS.ORG>
> Reply-To: "Panza, Robin" <PanzaR at CARNEGIEMUSEUMS.ORG>
> Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 09:12:26 -0400
> Subject: Re: unique numbers for species
>>>> From: Doug Yanega [mailto:dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU]
>> Assign a permanent number to each name associated with type material, and
>> you get one-to-one mapping.
> Only until someone starts splitting and lumping taxa.  Then there can be 2
> numbers for one taxon, or one number for 2 taxa.  Then there's the situation
> when the original description was a type *series*, which turns out to be
> multiple taxa!  Sorry, Doug, but I think it's all pie-in-the-sky.  Every
> problem with name (whether you include author, date, page, line number,
> whatever) is applicable to an assigned number.  Until we have the ultimate
> taxonomy with all the answers, there will be fluidity of designation, and no
> stable designation scheme will cover all the quirks.  But then, I'm a
> pessimist.
> just call me Eeyore,
> Robin K Panza                         panzar at carnegiemuseums.org
> Collection Manager, Section of Birds          ph:  412-622-3255
> Carnegie Museum of Natural History       fax: 412-622-8837
> 4400 Forbes Ave.
> Pittsburgh  PA  15213-4008  USA

Regarding that said above, even some quick thought put into how we might
handle this situation in an automated fashion provides a slew of
possibilities.  My thoughts here might be half-baked, but I'm sure the
taxonomists with computer science know-how could bake them completely.

One solution to the lumping of taxa, is as I said in my first post- the
joining of unique numbers- the first being the senior name but each
additional number would reference each synonym (adding the year of the
synonymy decision might be a nice bonus-allowing the computer to "know" the
status of a name based on its date of usage)- this would allow the computer
to map names regardless of their new status [as in the example Doug provided
of having a master list on which one's collection is based, that then needs
updating with a new master list which contains many new changes to names;
how else would the computer "know" that these newly synonymized names all
refer to one species?]

For splitting of names we could create a numbering system that DOES involve
the year of the split- this would allow the computer to "know" that all
references to a certain name AFTER that date refer to the sensu strictu
concept but all references to that name BEFORE that date refer to the sensu
lato concept.. and it would all be automated.

And finally, Christian's list of Nomenclator databases is encouraging- but I
envision a 'master' database that is global and not overly complicated
(simple systems can become reality with less funding and bickering over
details). With the single goal of listing original combinations and their
numbers, nada mas.

Derek Sikes
Dept. of Ecology and Evol. Biology U-43
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269  USA

FAX: 860-486-6364

dss95002 at uconnvm.uconn.edu

"Remember that Truth alone is the matter you are in Search after; and if you
have been mistaken, let no Vanity reduce you to persist in your mistake."
Henry Baker, London, 1785

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