[Taxacom] Type of Vetularctos inopinatus

gerarus at westnet.com.au gerarus at westnet.com.au
Sun Jan 18 22:41:37 CST 2009

The ICZN explicitly forbids the use of taxa based on hybrid specimens (Article 23.8 states that "A species-group name established for an animal later found to be a hybrid [Art. 17] must not be used as the valid name for either of the parental species, even if it is older than all other available names for them. Such a name may enter into homonymy", while Article 1.3.3 explicitly excludes names based on hybrid specimens from the provisions of the code).

As for how to list such a name in synonymies, I wouldn't think it could be made a synonym of either parent exclusively. I suppose it would be a little like an agreed _nomen dubium_ - unable to be used, but unable to be formally synonymised with anything else.


        Christopher Taylor

Christopher Taylor
Dept of Environmental Biology
Curtin University of Technology
GPO Box U1987
WA 6845


----- Original Message -----
From: "Kenneth Kinman" <kennethkinman at webtv.net>
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Monday, 19 January, 2009 11:55:07 AM GMT +08:00 Perth
Subject: [Taxacom] Type of Vetularctos inopinatus

Dear All,
       I was listening to a program on PBS TV tonight about polar bears
and grizzly bears.  They mentioned a natural hybrid between these two
species discovered back in 1864 (which  was later named as a new species
AND genus, Vetularctos inopinatus Merriam, 1918).          
       Anyway, I have it listed in my own 1977 mammal catalog (from
which the 1st Edition of our book "Mammal Species of the World",
Honacki, Kinman & Koeppl, was derived) as a synonym of Ursus horribilis.
However, I now wonder since it is a hybrid between species, whether this
hybrid might actually be better listed as a synonym of Ursus maritimus.
I assume it might depend on whether this hybrid's father was a grizzly
or a polar bear?                 
      Either way, would the holotype (name-bearing type) of this synonym
(inopinatus) be considered some kind of isotype?  Or does its hybrid
nature disqualify it as a type at all?  
         -----Ken Kinman


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