AW: abbreviations for author names

Donat Agosti agosti at AMNH.ORG
Thu Mar 9 13:50:31 CST 2006

Well, I guess, the Barcodes progress and deliver to about the same point
as Linnaeus' original system was delivering for the first couple of
decenniums. At the begin, everything is simple and clean and becomes
messy with increasing complexity.

But there is a sliver of silver on the night sky of systematics you draw
so nicely, that is initiatives such as UBio or hopefully Zoobank, where
you essentially type in any name and get out what all is known about it
among its many versions. Especially, if we do have all our literature
open access, machine readable and online.

Following your argument, if we could combine barcodes with name
resolvers then we are set and back in business....


Dr. Donat Agosti
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian
Email: agosti at
Skype: agostileu
Dalmaziquai 45
3005 Bern
+41-31-351 7152

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] Im
Auftrag von christian thompson
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 9. März 2006 13:36
Betreff: Re: abbreviations for author names


You are missing the point. Junior homonyms are NEVER VALID names. 

Users, such as birdwatchers, ecologists, epidemiologists,
agriculturists, etc., only use VALID names and each of these are unique
without authors.

So, once homonyms are identified and resolved, then the junior ones are
no longer of any interest to any one except nomenclaturists.

As for Martin, the real reason there is a decline in jobs,
opportunities, support for, etc., systematics is simply because the
Public is tried of some trying to force useless requirements on them.
All they need and want is an unique binomen for each and every species.
A stable, universal tag that can be used to index and retrieve
information. When they are burden with all the nomenclatural junk, they
rebel and turn to common names.

Ask yourself why Paul Herbert is getting millions for his DNA barcode
scheme? Simply because it promises the Public something they want and
what WE, the taxonomists, have failed to deliver after 250 years of
work. Users want to know what it is and what to call it. Authors,
publication dates, types, etc., are all irrelevant to the Public. A
simple barcode that they can read with their palm pilots or whatever is
what they would like.

Sorry ... 

F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
c/o Smithsonian Institution
MRC-0169 NHB
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso at e-mail  web site

>>> Derek Sikes <dsikes at UCALGARY.CA> 03/08/06 03:10PM >>>
On Mar 8, 2006, at 12:51 PM, christian thompson wrote:

> BUT then wonders about the need for author names. These, despite  
> what some people think are NOT part of scientific names in Zoology.  
> However, some zoologists maintain their usage as a honorific.  
> Birdwatchers and others gave up on them years. No real information  
> value. And with online nomenclators to find names, no real need to  
> use them. If you want to know what an abbreviation means, why not  
> just enter the scientific name into online nomenclator and see what  
> comes up?

But what about homonyms? There are 26 in the genus Nicrophorus -  
without the Author how could one tell which was which? If synonymy  
tables in nomenclators are available and static then the 'user'  
perhaps doesn't need to bother with the author - but how many taxa  
are so well treated (outside of the birds)?

N. basalis Faldermann, 1835
N. basalis Gistel, 1848

N. bipunctatus Kraatz, 1880
N. bipunctatus Portevin, 1914

N. cadaverinus Gravenhorst, 1807
N. cadaverinus Gistel, 1857
N. cadaverinus Mareuse, 1840

N. insularis Grouvelle, 1893
N. insularis Lafer, 1989

N. interruptus Brullé, 1832
N. interruptus Gistel, 1857
N. interruptus Stephens, 1830

N. lunatus Fischer von Waldheim, 1842
N. lunatus LeConte, 1853

N. marginatus Gistel, 1857
N. marginatus Fabricius, 1801

N. maritimus Guérin-Ménéville, 1835
N. maritimus Mannerheim, 1843

N. orientalis Motschulsky, 1860
N. orientalis (Herbst,1784)

N. plagiatus (Ménétries, 1854)
N. plagiatus Motschulsky, 1870

N. pollinctor LeConte, 1854
N. pollinctor Mannerheim, 1853

N. quadricollis Hatch, 1928
N. quadricollis Gistel, 1848


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 

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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