Basionym in Zoology?

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Mon Jun 17 14:26:04 CDT 2002

Many, MANY thanks to all who took the time to respond, both on and off the
list!  This has been a very useful exercise for me.  In my original post, I
probably put too much emphasis on the "circumscription" (taxon concept) side
of the word I was looking for.  As explained in my follow-up post, the main
reasons that I want to identify those Assertions representing original
descriptions have to do almost entirely with nomenclatural bits of data,
rather than circumscription bits -- which is why I was leaning toward
"Basionym" as a familiar term that more or less captures the notion of an
"original description".

However, based on the feedback I received, I'm now leaning heavily toward
using 'Protologue', instead of 'Basionym'.  It seems to carry the same
implication of "original description", without the baggage of implying
nomenclature exclusively.  Would any Zoologists object to thinking of the
original descriptions of their taxa  as 'protologues'? How about microbial

Thanks again for the prompt & helpful feedback!


Richard L. Pyle
Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at
"The opinions expressed are those of the sender, and not necessarily those
of Bishop Museum."

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