A zoologist asks: botanical names practice

Michael Schmitt m.schmitt at UNI-BONN.DE
Thu Jun 17 10:38:56 CDT 2004

Dear Colleagues,

At 20:47 16.06.2004, you wrote:
>Mary Barkworth wrote:
> > I know of no good reason for citing the date of publication.

>* amen. It's always seemed to me that it would be a more useful practice
>to cite the authority you're following for the application and extent of
>a name, rather than a ritual account of the original authorship ...
>(Frederick W. Schueler, Aleta Karstad, Jennifer Helene Schueler)

I strongly disagree. Author name and date of publication in the context of
a species name are not a citation of a source, as in the running text of a
scientific paper. Instead, they are means of indicating as precisely as
possible in a short way which species (hypothesis) is meant. Numerous
authors, especially in former times, published many names in one year, used
the same name several times in different years, and it is often ambiguous
just to give genus name and specific epithet, even if you give the author
along with it.

Citing the authority of the determination key you used is just shifting the
duty of providing an unambiguous name to the next level, and this is quite
often not at hand for the reader of your paper.

                                 Best regards

* Prof.Dr. Michael Schmitt (Zoologischer Anzeiger, Managing     *
* Editor; Bonner zoologische Beitraege, Editor-in-Chief)        *
* Zoologisches Forschungsinstitut und Museum Alexander Koenig   *
* Adenauerallee 160, D-53113 Bonn, Germany                      *
* Phone/Fax: +49 228-9122 286, e-mail: m.schmitt at uni-bonn.de    *
* http://www.museumkoenig.uni-bonn.de/mit/dnavmit.htm           *

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