[Taxacom] Objective synonyms?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat May 29 00:26:31 CDT 2010

The ICZN Code hasn't really defined these terms. Perhaps the ICBN Code has done better? The main confusion here comes about from the fact that species names are binomial: you need to somehow think of synonymy at the species level detached from generic considerations. It makes NO SENSE to say that Aus bus and Cus bus are objective synonyms because they are homotypic, unless Aus and Cus are objective synonyms ...

From: Curtis Clark <lists at curtisclark.org>
To: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Sat, 29 May, 2010 5:17:58 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Objective synonyms?

On 5/28/2010 8:23 PM, Michael A. Ivie wrote:
> Those examples are not synonyms, they are just different treatments
> (combinations) of the same name.  They have the same exact type,
> authorship and date of availability.  Synonyms are DIFFERENT names for the
> same taxonomic concept -- they can be objective (have the same type
> specimen for different availabilities and authorship [even if it is the
> same person] or subjective (someone believes they are the same species ex
> post facto).

I had been led to understand that "objective synonym" was the same as a 
botanical "nomenclatural synonym"; nomenclatural synonyms are by 
definition homotypic. As I learned synonymy, the homotypic /Encelia 
nutans/ Eastwood and /Enceliopsis nutans/ (Eastwood) A. Nelson are 
synonyms, and I find nothing in the ICBN to contradict that. Perhaps the 
issue is that in botanical nomenclature such names do not have the same 
authorship, because the codes deal with authorship in a subtly different 

Most of what I know of zoological nomenclature I got from Ed Wiley's 
/Phylogenetics/, and it could be both out-of-date and incorrect.

Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
Director, I&IT Web Development                  +1 909 979 6371
University Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona


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