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

Richard Petit r.e.petit at worldnet.att.net
Fri Sep 4 10:07:17 CDT 2009


Surely you were jesting when you wrote this:

> Seems to be so. Sometimes I wonder why author is needed. Year would be
> sufficient, this is useful for the priority issue. Genus-species-year
> would be almost equally (and of course not totally) unique as
> genus-species-author-year. Author seems to have been added for various
> reasons, initially not in the sense we use author today. In the second
> half of the 1800s they used author more in the sense of what we would call
> sensu today.

If you have read my papers on Reeve and the Sowerbys (and a few others) you 
know that I have spent a lot of time with the older literature searching for 
the first introduction of various names. Author and year are essential for 
locating the original introduction of a name and far too few systematists 
bother to find the original source but instead accept some later author's 

In almost all of the 1800s the person who first "proposed a name" was 
recognized as the author. As an example, Gray would put a MS. name on a 
specimen in the BM(NH) and Wood, Sowerby, et al., would figure the shell 
before Gray got around to publishing a description. These authors who 
actually published the name with a figure attributed the name to Gray. That 
is, of course, not correct under the Code (which did not exist then).  For 
my discussion on this and related problems see the 2007 Reeve paper, pages 
40-42 (Zootaxa 1648).  In the Sowerby paper (Zootaxa 2189) there is no 
discussion on authorship problems as such but the "Taxa Notes" on pages 
187-200 contains a variety of problems involving dating and authorship.


dick p. 

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