[Taxacom] Objective synonyms?

dipteryx at freeler.nl dipteryx at freeler.nl
Mon May 31 06:24:18 CDT 2010

As will be clear, I agree with Geoff Read, and others 
before him: it is not only straightforward, but very basic.
Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Francisco Welter-Schultes
Verzonden: ma 31-5-2010 12:58

> Zoological nomenclature is a whole science, 

It is not a science, it is a tradition, governed by rules. 
Perhaps to some degree, it also is an art?
* * *

> I have repeatedly proposed to find ways to make ... 
> understood more easily ... by improving the ICZN Code 
> and adapt it more to the needs of a broader public. 
> I am convinced that this is possible, for example by 
> adding more examples 

Yes, one of the most noticeable things about the zoological
Code is the extreme sparsity of Examples. There could be 
ten times as many Examples in it, without this being too much.
Writing a good Example is quite hard work, requiring a good 
grasp of the Code, and often of the relevant taxonomy, 
but it is doable and worthwhile. It helps the user no end.

> and by removing parts of the Code that are a burden 
> in that they provoke misunderstandings 

I do not have the impression there are many errors 
in the zoological Code: it looks very precise to me.
Anyway, over time I have indeed found real errors in 
the botanical Code but these are few, and it is very,
very, very hard work to find them (also hard work 
to fix them). I am not inclined to attach much value 
to a passerby who cries out that there are errors in a 
nomenclature Code.

It looks to me that the easiest way (although hard work) 
to improve the zoological Code would be to add lots of 
Examples (real examples of real cases). A second way 
would be to adopt different, more evocative terms 
(it is really weird to have "specific name", "species name",
"species group name", all with distinct meanings, 
although the innocent bystander will just lump them 
together). However, very likely, a new terminology 
will not just be a lot of work, but an intricate 
political problem. Close to impossible.


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