[Taxacom] Authorities for trinomials

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Sat Aug 26 08:14:19 CDT 2006


My hat off to Richard Pyle! Nobody else could manage a complete change of
topic this smoothly and make it look this good!

Going by the number of posts to taxacom 'invalid names' are indeed a
recurring problem, especially to those who manage a database. Quite a lot of
such names are quite dubious anyway, because they lack a type, a diagnosis,
an author or other requirement.

Still, I get the impression that in some cases the only problem is that the
name is not formally validated. That is: the name is used in the literature,
there is a specimen (equivalent to a type) and it applies unambiguously to a
particular taxon. Maybe it is worth doing something about such names. The
ICBN (in its upcoming edition) is going to offer botanists the option of
submitting dubious names to the appropriate Permanent Committee for a
judgement that these dubious names are not validly published (and thus do
not exist, to the Code). Perhaps it is time to start thinking if it would be
desirable to include an option to do the reverse and make it possible to
submit 'invalid names' for a judgement. If the relevant conditions are met
and it would help stabilise the nomenclature the Committee could recommend
extending the status of being validly published to that name. In effect this
would retroactively create a virtual publication, with a particular date of
publication from which the name would have priority (something along the
lines of "the visit to the Paris herbarium by Linnaeus IV, in August 1888,
is now judged to have resulted in a virtual publication dated 3 September
1888, of the following herbarium names: ..." .

It would need considerable thought to write this up in a way so as to avoid
unwanted side effects, but basically this can be done. The real question is
if there are sufficient 'invalid names' in the literature to make it
desirable to even think about this?

Best, Paul


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