[Taxacom] shortest description

Dan Lahr daniel.lahr at gmail.com
Tue Mar 1 14:51:54 CST 2011


To me, this is actually extremely helpful. This specially:

>The absolute eternal truth in science has no
>influence on the availability of a name.

I'm sure will turn out to be very important in taxonomy/nomenclature
of protists. Many people have suggested invalidation of names based on
arguments that in one way or another comes back to this issue. The
interplay between technology available at the time of description and
difficulty in observing the organisms themselves today can generate a
very complicated mess.

> Sometimes the term "redescription" is used in zoology, usually when
> subsequent authors see that the original description was really bad and
> insufficient to identify what was meant. This term is misleading, it
> sounds as if such a publication would be of any nomenclatural relevance,
> which it isn't. It is just a regular study published to enhance our
> knowledge on a particular species.

This is actually something very important that tends to slip away from
my mind. I often find myself going back only to the most recent
redescription when trying to establish synonymy history of a name.

Thanks again,

DAn

On Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 3:53 PM, Francisco Welter-Schultes
<fwelter at gwdg.de> wrote:
>> What I meant is that it is
>> impossible for an eukaryotic organism to not have a nucleus. The
>> nucleus was certainly there, the descriptor just could not see it.
>
> You always have to evaluate such things in the subjectively scientific
> background of the describer. The absolute eternal truth in science has
> no influence on the availability of a name.
>
>> My
>> question is whether the statement "absence of nucleus" in the
>> description makes the taxon a nomen nudum,
>
> If the describer really believed that this taxon did not have a
> nucleus, and in this point differed from all other species, this was
> thought to denote the taxon, so it was not a nomen nudum. The quality
> of the description can be bad and the statements can later turn out to
> have been incorrect, this is no problem.
>
>> and my initial inference
>> was that as long as there are other meaningful characters listed it
>> doesn't necessarily invalidate the name, one could write up an
>> amended diagnosis. Does that seem correct?
>
> Of course. But as said above, also if all characters were interpreted
> incorrectly, the name was made available.
>
> The description does not need to be correct. Everyone can publish
> other studies and show that the species has totally different
> characters, and that the first describer misinterpreted everything he
> saw under the microsscope. This has no influence on the availability
> of that name.
>
> A "description" in the sense of the Code is only a formal requirement
> to establish a name. This description can only be published in the
> original or in a previous source, never in a subsequent source after
> the name was established.
>
> Sometimes the term "redescription" is used in zoology, usually when
> subsequent authors see that the original description was really bad
> and insufficient to identify what was meant. This term is misleading,
> it sounds as if such a publication would be of any nomenclatural
> relevance, which it isn't. It is just a regular study published to
> enhance our knowledge on a particular species.
>
> Did this help?
>
> Francisco
> University of Goettingen, Germany
> www.animalbase.org
>



-- 
Daniel Lahr
-------------------------------------------------
PhD candidate
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
U Massachusetts- Amherst
319 Morrill Science Center, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
413-585-3881




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