[Taxacom] validation of taxon names
dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Feb 15 12:40:38 CST 2012
I would observe that, for zoological names, of the following list:
>1. Is this a name?
>2. Is this the correct way to write it?
>3. Is this name currently in use?
>4. What other names are related to this name (e.g., synonyms,
>5. Where was this name published? Can I see that publication?
at least 1 and 5 are questions for which an objective and definitive
answer (via application of the ICZN for #1) can be arrived at, and
that the answer will not change. Thus, these are things which could
be made part of a permanent public archive (hopefully, something like
#2 and 3 are things that can, in essence, be objectively determined
under the Code, but are subject to the nuance of "prevailing usage" -
that is, a sudden change in how taxonomists treat a name can shift
the answer from "no" to "yes" (in both cases) or from "yes" to "no"
(for #2). One hope that I have is that a mechanism for Registration
can be implemented in the future which will prevent such fluctuation,
and thus make the answers to 2 and 3 immutable, as well.
#4 is something that cannot be objectively determined, because
synonymy is almost invariably subjective.
Realistically, then, this list represents a mixed bag of the
immediately attainable, the potentially attainable, and the
unattainable. It might be more productive to focus on the former
categories, in terms of a community-wide goal. I'll further note that
if taxonomists want a system of Registration that will result in
permanently stable names, then they are probably going to have to
insist upon it, *and* be willing to participate in the process
(because such a process is likely to require public review). I'm not
100% sure whether botanical names would work exactly the same way,
but I expect that the situation would be pretty much the same.
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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