[Taxacom] Sperm whale scientific name - catodon ormacrocephalus?

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.co.nz
Fri Jul 4 02:23:47 CDT 2008

>>> On 4/07/2008 at 3:01 p.m., <Tony.Rees at csiro.au> wrote:
> The residual problem is that ITIS, and thus Catalogue of Life, GBIF, EoL, 
> WoRMS etc. follow the 3rd Edition of Mammal Species of the World (MSW), which 
> prefers the name catodon (presumably agreeing with Schevill's argument, as 
> per references cited below). The question is then how this discrepancy of 
> naming gets reconciled, and maybe one for which the parties on this 
> listserver may have some suggestions and/or influence.

Sure Tony, this is easy, at least to know which is best to follow. ITIS and its ilk are secondary sources, just lists, no analysis. They don't make actual decisions, have no heft for me as a taxonomist (as very, very useful as summaries and guides they may be), just reflect - err ... something - perhaps another list, perhaps some person's unpublished instantaneous gut decision.  If it's worthwhile doing, always go to the primary taxonomic literature, and work it out, which it seems you've done successfully.  That's where the intellectual grunt can be seen, and the logic laid out for viewing, hopefully. I looked at the WoRMs entry for P. catodon for instance and there was no source there that seemed likely to be other than a secondary one (with all due respect to Time-Life Books). So is it a 'discrepancy' or are the list-builder guys just follow-the-leader wrong in this instance?

Geoff Read (suggesting only)

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