[Taxacom] [iczn-list] Bullet-point summary on how to name an animal

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Sun Feb 13 18:29:50 CST 2011

For the Taxacom community who recently was joined in this discussion: this
is a thread that has been initiated by Mike Taylor in the [iczn-list]
mailing list some days ago. There already been a lot of mail exchange.
Particularly on homonymy and gender agreement. Now it seems we have to
repeat arguments.

Mike, maybe you can explain for the Taxacom community again in short words
your basic idea behind this guide.

The draft is this one:

I would leave out subspecies and subgenera. I understood that this should
be a short, clear and concise guide to be understood by a broad public, by
a non-insider community.

In such a guide it is not necessary to rule out every single exception of
an exception of an exception. This Code is full with such things and this
is exactly the reason why nobody understands it very well.

I would not use the terms "genus-group names", "species-group" etc.
These are insider terms, not broadly understood and not intelligible for
users of a standard English dictionary or online translator. A genus-group
is not a group of genera, a species-group not a group of species.

So, consider replacing "species-group" by "species" etc., as you had it

Talk only of species and genera. Leave out families. Zoologists who are so
skilled that they establish families, don't create problems, don't need
such a short guide, and certainly won't read it.

A sentence could be added in the short introductory chapter:

"Subgenera and subspecies are genera and species in the sense of this guide."


Current version bullet point 5:

"The complete scientific name (whether uninomial, binomial or trinomial)
must not previously have been used for a different animal. When
establishing new species or subspecies names, it is good practice to avoid
specific names already established within closely related genera, to avoid
the creation of secondary homonyms if the genera are later synonymized. It
is also advisable to avoid creating new names that have been represented
as misspellings of existing names, or names established under other Codes
of scientific nomenclature (e.g., the botanical Code or the
bacteriological Code)."

It is necessary to be careful with the words to use, for not being incorrect.
Sentence 1 is incorrect, there is no such provision at all in the Code, it
also contradicts Art 59.2 ("previous" secondary homonyms can be used if
not considered congeneric). I would propose simply to delete this

Steve and Tony:
Tony you are exactly right in your last mail.
A new species Homo erectus could be established and used in Homo, if Pith.
erectus is not classified in Homo. This is possible, and many taxonomists
do such things. I consider it as highly useful to ask zoologists in such a
guide not to do this.

It is not forbidden under the Code to establish a junior homonym! It is
incorrect to say "you must not". It is just useless and creates problems
and workload for others.

So the rest bullet point 5 is good, but I would not say "it is good
practice". Be more direct.

Bullet point 7:
"The new name must be spelled using only the 26 letters of the Latin
alphabet, without diacritics or punctuation.  [There are a tiny number of
exotic exceptions; ignore them.]"

Replace by
"The new name must be spelled using only the 26 letters of the Latin
alphabet, without diacritics or punctuation. [There is only one exception;
ignore it.]"

The only one exception is Art. the c-album case (which, of
course, concerns also v-nigrum and x-vittatus and the others)

Bullet point 14 again:

"A specific name (i.e., the second part of a genus+species combination),
if it is or ends in a Latin or latinized adjective or participle in the
nominative singular, must agree in gender with the name of the genus that
contains it. "

Don't write "must". This creates only misunderstandings. People will think
that names with incorrect endings are unavailable, and start disputing
them, apply other authorships. This can create only problems. I initially
thought the same, when I began zoological work. I thought that Deroceras
gavdosensis was unavailable.

But I suppose we will modify this point anyway.


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