A zoologist asks: botanical names practice (Modified by Derek Sikes)

Derek Sikes dsikes at UCALGARY.CA
Wed Jun 16 11:52:43 CDT 2004

On 16-Jun-04, at 8:12 AM, Mary Barkworth wrote:
> I know of no good reason for citing the date of publication. I do see a
> good reason to state what references you used for identifying the
> plants

This may have been mentioned before - and clearly some might dismiss it
as too radical - but if a species description is a publication, and
represents a hypothesis put forward by the author(s) of that
publication, that indeed such a species is unique, why is it that we so
often use these author's hypotheses [species names] without citing the
paper in which they were first proposed?

Would anyone use in a paper an ecological hypothesis, or even a
phylogenetic hypothesis of relationships, without citing the
author(s)/publication of that hypothesis?

It's as if we think species are so real and obvious that there is no
reason to give credit to the person who first described them - anyone
could have done it! i.e. they are not hypotheses and the work of the
person who made them available to science is not worth citing.

I've been tossing this around a bit among colleagues lately and thought
this seemed an ideal time to throw it out for wider discussion.

Derek Sikes
Derek S. Sikes, Assistant Professor
Division of Zoology
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4

dsikes at ucalgary.ca

phone: 403-210-9819
FAX:  403-289-9311

"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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