"arcane" rules/was gender of -opsis

Panza, Robin PanzaR at CARNEGIEMUSEUMS.ORG
Fri Aug 16 09:15:05 CDT 2002


>>>More to the point, there are other people *besides* active taxonomists
that have need to know the names for things, and when the same exact
organism appears under two names that differ only in whether they end with
an -a or an -us, not only does it do our public image little credit, but it
wreaks havoc for database managers,<<<

I don't really see this as a character flaw of the code so much as of the
namers.  Compare
-rhynchus
-rynchus
-rhyncus
-rhynchos

They all sound about the same, so knowing that Mallard is Anas platy----
doesn't help for remembering which of those endings is on this particular
epithet.  But this is because namers didn't choose to follow a convention.
The function of gender rules in the Code is to try to prevent this kind of
multiplicity of similar spellings by establishing conventions.  It's when
people don't bother to *check* and *follow* the rules that the problems
arise.

Robin K Panza
Section of Birds, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh  PA  15213  USA
phone:  412-622-3255
fax:  412-622-8837
panzar at carnegiemuseums.org




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