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

Ron at Ron at
Wed Jun 16 14:20:01 CDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: Derek Sikes
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 1:52 PM
Subject: Re: A zoologist asks: botanical names practice (Modified by Derek

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

In this time when species concepts number more than individuals of some
endangered species, how can one not refer to the _author(s)_ of any given
taxon????   A taxon is more and more "in the hypothesis of the author" not
the beholder of it.

Ron Gatrelle

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