[Taxacom] Fw: Re: Haplorhini or Haplo(r)rhini?

Michael Heads michael.heads at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 23 16:59:38 CDT 2009

Dear colleagues,
Strepsirrhini and Haplorhini (and catarrhines, platyrrhines) are the (almost) consensus spellings among primatologists (after a lot of debate!). I don't think it's a point of 'correct' Greek or Latin, but priority. A week or two back a correspondent asked about Dictyostelium firmibasis. The epithet is treated as a noun in apposition, but you'll never find this word in Cicero or even the degenerate Latin of the later empire. Is it normal Latin? Of course not - this is why your correspondent's advisors suggested correcting it. However, I don't think it should be corrected because we are not writing Latin (it's sometimes termed neolatin or 'Latin form') and if we start 'correcting' bad Latin names there will be no end to it. 
   An amusing story: in 1996 while revising New Zealand Olearia I found that the old, well-known name O. hectori is 'incorrect' - Cicero would have always used hectoris for the genitive of the famous hero's name.  Unfortunately, the New Zealand biota is full of hectori's - a dozen plants, whales, etc. I wrote to a famous nomenclaturalist suggesting that 'hectori' could just be left as is, rather than creating new synonyms - the ultimate taxonomic sin. He equivocated and I used 'hectori', but when the next code of nomenclature appeared, I saw that a reference to hectoris had been added and the 'correct' spelling made compulsory... More name changes, more synonyms, more confusion...          

Michael Heads

Wellington, New Zealand.

My papers on biogeography are at the Buffalo Museum website: www.sciencebuff.org/research/current-research-activities/john-grehan/evolutionary-biography/panbiogeographic-publications/heads-publications/

--- On Fri, 4/24/09, Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net> wrote:

From: Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net>
Subject: [Taxacom] Haplorhini or Haplo(r)rhini?
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Date: Friday, April 24, 2009, 8:45 AM

Dear All,
     I assume there are some Greek scholars on the list.  I often see
Haplorhini spelled with a double "r" (Haplorrhini), and also
Strepsirhini spelled Strepsirrhini.   Since both forms of these
spellings seem to be fairly common, perhaps it would be best to go with
the proper Greek spelling.  I just don't know whether the proper
spellings are with a single "r" or a double "r".  Would like to see a
discussion on this and perhaps settle it once and for all.
                     Ken Kinman


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