[Taxacom] Objective synonyms?
Kim van der Linde
kim at kimvdlinde.com
Sat May 29 07:47:44 CDT 2010
Looks like that the same discussion has popped up again. What is new at
Anyway, this is my take on it.
Everything starts with the description of the species. When that
happens, it is often indicated with 'n. sp.'
When a species is moved to a new genus, it is called a new combination,
NOT a new name.
ICZN glossary: new combination
The first combination of a generic name and a previously
established species-group name.
Logical, because it does not have a new description with assignment of
type specimens etc., it is a subjective call of the taxonomist to place
the species in a different genus.
So, now lets look at synonyms:
ICZN glossary: synonym, n.
Each of two or more names of the same rank used to denote the same
The key here is "of the same rank":
ICZN glossary: rank, n.
The level, for nomenclatural purposes, of a taxon in a taxonomic
hierarchy. The ranks of the family group, the genus group, and the
species group at which nominal taxa may be established are stated in
Articles 10.3, 10.4, 35.1, 42.1 and 45.1.
So, we talk here about the genus-group and species-group levels as
separate ranks. Now, lets interpreted objective synonym:
ICZN glossary: objective synonym
Each of two or more synonyms that denote nominal taxa with the same
Above, synonyms are at their specific rank, so it applies specifically
to the species-group name alone or the genus-group name alone, not to
So, to answer the question. Panthera uncia and Unica uncia are based on
one single description. The difference is the subjective placement of
the species in different genera. As it was described originally as
Panthera uncia, moving the species to the genus Uncia does not result in
a new name, but a new combination, Uncia uncia.
To sum it:
1 type, 1 description, 1 combination: not synonyms
1 type, 1 description, 2 combinations: not synonyms
1 type, 2 description, 2 combination: objective synonyms
2 types, 2 descriptions, 2 combination: subjective synonyms
Now I will run and duck.
On 5/28/2010 10:16 PM, Curtis Clark wrote:
> Have there been recent changes to ICZN deprecating the concept of
> objective synonym? There is an editor on Wikipedia, otherwise
> well-respected, who is claiming that names in different genera with the
> same epithet (he doesn't say homotypic, but all of his examples are) are
> not synonyms. I know this is incorrect for ICBN (and with little effort
> I could find chapter and verse), but I don't have enough familiarity
> with the current ICZN to either correct myself or counter the argument.
More information about the Taxacom