[Taxacom] FW: formation of zoological names with Mc, Mac, et

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Tue Sep 1 20:48:17 CDT 2009

well, one of the most important functions of authorities in 
zoological names is pointing to the original description of a name. 

> The correct year in this exemplary case pointed you in the right
> direction that the author really wasn't the original C. Pfeiffer,
> which is what matters for taxonomists.
The identity of the person who actually established the name is of
secondary importance. It is nomenclaturally irrelevant. This is why 
initials can be removed without problems. A taxonomist does not need 
to care about who exactly was the person. Some are interested in 
that, they like to know exactly which person established which 
name, some do not care and use authors just as if they were arbitrary 
combinations of letters forming part of a compound identifier. This 
is a question of personal preferences.

> In the case that the nomenclature system has flaws, is it up to the
> bioinformatics to fix them? (this is an honest question)
Actually zoological nomenclature has indeed the problem that nothing 
is ruled concerning spellings and initials of authors in zoological 
names. In such a case I would say yes, bioinformatics can 
establish some rules or best practices on their own account to help 
It would be better if taxonomists would solve these problems on their 
own initiatives, but most are not aware of the problem of variant 
spellings since it occurs in remote (for them) fields. Some pressure 
or feedback from the bioinformatics side can be useful, since part 
of the job of taxonomists is to provide a service (names that can 
be used for some purposes) for a broader community. 


University of Goettingen, Germany

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