[Taxacom] new whale genus name is preoccupied

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Thu Jul 1 17:13:23 CDT 2010

>Dear All,
>       Today's issue of Nature describes a new genus of Miocene whale
>named Leviathan.  However, don't get too attached to the name, because
>it is preoccupied by Leviathan Koch, 1841, so the new whale genus will
>have to be given a replacement name.

Koch's original name was "Levathan", spelled later in the same work 
as "Leviathan". This may give Lambert et al. their "escape clause" 
regarding preoccupation, but ONLY if no later authors came along and 
either selected the latter spelling explicitly (a "first reviser" 
action, Article 32.2.1) or even used "Leviathan" in a manner such 
that the name is in prevailing usage (Article of the Code 
specifies "when an unjustified emendation is in prevailing usage and 
is attributed to the original author and date is is deemed to be a 
justified emendation"). This latter article exists in order to 
preserve well-established names when challenged by the discovery of 
long-lost original spellings, so as to give favor to stability over 
authoritarian insistence on strict priority. Therefore, without 
knowing additional details, it is not possible to be certain whether 
"Leviathan, Koch 1841" does indeed preoccupy that name. It is 
possible, though doubtful, that Koch's name is unavailable for other 
reasons, but that also remains to be seen.

Does anyone have additional details about usage of this name after 1841?

I have contacted the senior author of this paper, in case they are 
aware of such details.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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