A zoologist asks: botanical names practice(Modified byDerek Sikes)

Denis Brothers Brothers at UKZN.AC.ZA
Thu Jun 17 08:39:03 CDT 2004

I agree with Derek. Apart from anything else, in many situations these
days success is measured in citations. The lack of such citations for
taxonomic work gives the impression that it is of little importance. (Of
course most citations will be to publications by people long dead, so
its worth for current taxonomists may not be that great.)


PS Please note new snailmail and email addresses
(although previous email will function through 2005).

Prof. Denis J. Brothers, Head
School of Botany & Zoology
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Private Bag X01
tel: +27 (0)33 260 5102
fax: +27 (0)33 260 5105
e-mail: brothers at ukzn.ac.za

>>> Derek Sikes <dsikes at UCALGARY.CA> 2004/06/16 07:52:43 PM >>>
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
> good reason to state what references you used for identifying the
> plants

This may have been mentioned before - and clearly some might dismiss
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
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
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

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