ICZN Code questions

Wolfgang Lorenz Faunaplan at AOL.COM
Fri Aug 23 15:21:35 CDT 2002


Thanks to Chris for such interesting informations!

Your spider student's example exactly illustrates what was one my first
horror visions because of the vague glossary definition of prevailing usage:
2 of 3 as a 'substantial majority'.

There were at least two more horror visions:
1) epithets originally spelled with double-ii ending and later spelled with
single -i by a more or less 'substantial majority' of authors. Such cases are
always treated as incorrect subsequent spellings (see Art. 33.4), but because
of the sheer mass of such cases I see no other solution than to practice
civil disobedience here and exempt all -ii/ -i epithets from the prevailing
usage rulings in art. 33.3.1. I will just use the original spelling, also
because - at least in the Carabidae - such original spellings have been
revived by recent authors in the majority of cases due to rulings in the
previous Codes although they may not (yet) be in prevailing usage.

2) what if the substantial majority changes? (I remember your recommendation
was to refer such problems to the Commission, and I will include such a
recommendation in the preface of my 'telefone-book').

And I think there's a logic problem with 'prevailing usage', because there
are actually two different definitions for that important new expression,
despite the clear words on page XIII of the Code: "the meaning of a word or
expression is to be taken as that given in the Glossary (see Article 89)".
Article 23.9.1. does have its own clear definition different from the
Glossary definition, and when we look closer we even find that article 23.9.1
refers to (almost) the same cases (i.e., emendations, which are available
names) already adressed in art. 33.2.3.1 (where the Glossary definition
applies)...... a bug?

... but that's similar to the problem which you have adressed:
>That may seem to be trivial but is very serious problem that few have
recognized. First, the criteria of 79c are those now in Art. 23.9.1.1 and
23.9.1.2, which assures that there is SOME USAGE. When "prevailing usage" is
used without these restrictions, then there is a real problem.<

As for scientific names as UNIQUE KEYS for databank purposes, I think there
are two options:
1) The name in its original spelling/ generic combination. The big advantage
is - as you wrote - that such names are stable in multiple/ changing
classifications (if article 23.9.5 does not result in ambiguity). The
(current) problem is that checking all the original spellings by recourse to
the old literature is still an enormous work to do, and original combinations
are rarely if at all cited in the abstracts or keyword sections of
publications.
2) A standard name based on a current checklist or 'telefone book' where all
published names are arranged in a reasonably modern 'standard system'. I have
chosen to try the latter (knowing that not all will like my generic
combinations, but specialists will have their own perfect checklists anyway).

Cheers from good old (and sometimes backward) Europe,
Wolfgang




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