[Taxacom] Objective synonyms?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon May 31 00:22:07 CDT 2010

>they are homotypic (nomenclatural, or objective) synonyms

My point: combinations may be homotypic, but to equate that with objective (nomenclatural) synonymy is farsical (in both botany and zoology)! They are homotypic subjective synonyms, or else not synonyms at all (just combinations). The roundabout of definitions is not logically consistent or sensible if combinations turn out to be objective synonyms. There is nothing more subjective than the placement of a species in a genus! We have two terms (objective synonym, homotypic), so why should they mean exactly the same thing all the time? Objective synonym is called that because of objectivity ...

>but in zoology (again if I  interpret Francisco correctly), new combinations are the same name

My point: this is not standard orthodoxy - just Francisco's way of thinking about it (not wrong per se, but not right per se either!) If you weren't given the prize (say $1m) on a quiz show just because you answered the question "in zoology, are new combinations are the same name?" with the answer "no", then the legal battles could rage on for a very long time!!!

>the objective synonym of zoology (for which evidently no one has yet to give an example)

I have already given examples - they involve new replacement names (nomina nova):
someone describes a new species as Aus bus, then someone recombines it as Cus bus, but wait(!) there is already a Cus bus, so rename the new one as Cus dus. Then Cus dus and Cus bus (Aus bus) are objective synonyms


From: Curtis Clark <lists at curtisclark.org>
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Mon, 31 May, 2010 3:35:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Objective synonyms?

On 5/30/2010 6:30 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> Maybe you could briefly explain Francisco's view then, in your own 
> words, like I did?
I can contrast with botany, if that helps. (Imagine describing a 
kiwi--it's a lot easier if the person you are talking to has seen a bird.)

The botanical concept of basionym is key to the difference. /Encelia 
nutans/ and /Enceliopsis nutans/ are different names, based on the same 
type. The basionym, the name applied to the type when it was described, 
happens to be /Encelia nutans/. If I published a new combination /Geraea 
nutans/, it would be yet another name, based on the same type. Each of 
these names has a type, the type of the basionym. Because they are 
different names, with the same type, they are homotypic (nomenclatural, 
or objective) synonyms.

If I understand Francisco correctly, /Felis uncia/ is a nominal taxon; 
it has a type. What makes this different from a basionym is that 
/Panthera uncia/ and /Uncia uncia/ are the same name, under different 
combinations. A basionym is "A previously published legitimate 
name-bringing or epithet-bringing synonym from which a new name is 
formed for a taxon of different rank or position", but in zoology, a new 
name is not formed, merely a new combination.

So in botany, new combinations = new names, but in zoology (again if I 
interpret Francisco correctly), new combinations are the same name. This 
may seem trivial, but it has widespread enough implications to have 
caused all this chatter on Taxacom as people sorted it out. With luck, 
someone reading this will be in the position to see that the next 
edition of ICBN doesn'e equate nomenclatural synonym with the objective 
synonym of zoology (for which evidently no one has yet to give an example).

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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