[Taxacom] Species-level homonyms - between/within codes

Tony.Rees at csiro.au Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Wed Nov 10 14:11:55 CST 2010

Dear Paul, all,

This is certainly not a world I have somehow invented - it is called the scientific names of organisms, or biodiversity, or biodiversity informatics, q.v...

I believe it is simply reasonable to call these "homonyms across codes" and in support I would cite e.g. the following statement:

"Each of the major nomenclatural Codes (ICBN, ICNB, ICTV) is exclusive; they govern homonymy independently. Thus homonyms (the same name for different taxa) are allowed between Codes. For example, the genus Ficus is available and valid for both a gastropod genus and the plants commonly called figs. It is assumed that points of confusion in referring to organisms in different Kingdoms will be rare, thus homonymy is not controlled in these cases."

This is to be found on (of all places) the ICZN website, 

One can find similar references elsewhere, e.g. "Avoidance of inter-Code homonyms" in Hawksworth, 1998, "Twenty-three proposals to amend the Code in order to increase nomenclatural harmonisation in biology", and so on.

Regards - Tony

From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of dipteryx at freeler.nl [dipteryx at freeler.nl]
Sent: Wednesday, 10 November 2010 10:01 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Species-level homonyms - between/within codes

Van: Tony.Rees at csiro.au [mailto:Tony.Rees at csiro.au]
Verzonden: wo 10-11-2010 9:42

Dear Paul,

> You wrote:
> ---
> As to "[homonyms] can equally exist between Codes as well",
> I do not see how Art 52.7 could be more explicit:
>    "52.7. Homonymy with names of taxa which are not animals.
>    The name of an animal taxon identical with the name of a
>    taxon which has never been treated as animal is not a
>    homonym for the purposes of zoological nomenclature "
> ---

> I believe this is perfectly consistent with my previously
> expressed view - it merely indicates that cross-code homonyms
> do not require any corrective action under the ICZN Code,
> which we know already. My interest crosses multiple codes,
> which is why the cross-code homonymy issue becomes relevant,
> even if it is not so "for the purposes of zoological
> nomenclature"...

> Regards - Tony

Dear Tony,

Obviously you are entitled to be interested in text-strings
"[across] multiple codes", and you have great freedom in what you
call whatever phenomenon you observe, even such terms like the "synchronous dancing of pink-polka-dotted spelling elephants" or whatever (in this case "homography" sounds like a good idea).

However, it then rests with you to make it clear in what frame
of reference you are expressing yourself, and to be clear if
these are Tony-Rees-defined terms, or if these have a wider
application, and if so what application. Certainly it is very
confusing to use terms that look as if they are nomenclatural
terms but actually are entirely different from what they would
mean in a nomenclatural context (or are different in different
ways in different nomenclatural contexts). The present effort
has a very database-ese look to it. If you are going to create
a world of your own, why not invent entirely new terms to go
with it?



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