[Taxacom] new whale genus name is preoccupied

Anders Warén anders.waren at nrm.se
Thu Jul 1 23:52:45 CDT 2010

Sherborn, in the first list of references to the second part of Index Animalium (1801-1850) mentioned that the pamphlet is dated "1840" on the wrapper, while the title page is dated 1841. This refers to the first edition, since Sherborn also mentioned an "ed. 2".

Anders Warén
Swedish Museum of Natural History

On Jul 2, 2010, at 3:06 AM, Francisco Welter-Schultes wrote:

> I began this mail before having received Stephen's BHL mail, so I 
> will send it now. 
> It seems to me that the genus-group name Leviathan was correctly 
> established by Koch in 1841 (not 1843 as the members of the cited 
> blog suggested):
> Koch, A. 1841. Description of missourium, or Missouri leviathan;
> together with its supposed habits and Indian traditions concerning the
> location from whence it was exhumed; also, comparisons of the whale,
> crocodile and missourium with the leviathan, as described in the 41st
> chapter of the book of Job. - pp. 3-20. Louisville. (Prentice &
> Weissinger). 
> http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/81522
> p. 14 as Leviathan, type species Leviathan missourii Koch, 1841, 
> established on the same page as Leviathan Missourii. Koch used the 
> name as a scientific name in the same way as he used the name 
> Mastodon.
> I found no alternate spellings in Koch's 1841 work. 
> Sherborn (Index Animalium) has the following entries:
> Levathan A. Koch, Descr. of Missourium, 1840 [1841], 13.-M.
> Leviathan emend. Levathan ; A. Koch, Descr. of Missourium, ed. 2,
> 1841, 14.-M.
> missuriensis Leviathan, A. C. Koch, Beschr. Missurium, 1844 (Magdeburg
> ed.) [teste Engelmann, p. 596].
> missourii Levathan, A. Koch, Descr. of Missourium, 1840 [1841], 13.
> (-M. stands for Mammalia).
> This suggests that there might have been another, previous 
> publication by Koch with the same title, perhaps published in 1840. 
> In that publication the name could have been mentioned on p. 13 as 
> Levathan. But this is a speciulation and I have not seen such a 
> publication. 
> The name Leviathan was indeed also mentioned on p. 13 of the 1841 
> work, but at this occasion not as a scientific name. Only on p. 
> 14 the name Leviathan Missourii was given.
> Since Sherborn gave p. 13 for the specific name missourii, it is 
> possible that the 1841 source was a second edition. But I did not see 
> anything in the digitized work itself that would point to it being a 
> second edition.
> I would expect that the name Leviathan has been used after 1899. 
> Screening Google books seems to give some hits of modern historical 
> sources where Leviathan was used as a name for the taxon described by 
> Koch. I would also expect that if they used a name, then it would 
> have been Leviathan and not Levathan. This would mean that Leviathan 
> is in prevailing usage against an eventually correct original 
> spelling Levathan, even if only 2 sources in the past 100 years used 
> that name at all.
>> From what I see now, the authors of the Nature paper produced a very 
> cheap homonym - and they or at least Nature's reviewers could have 
> seen that relatively easily.
> Francisco
> University of Goettingen, Germany
> www.animalbase.org
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