[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Curtis Clark lists at curtisclark.org
Sat Feb 18 20:46:03 CST 2012

On 2/18/2012 11:33 AM, Richard Pyle wrote:
> But the trouble is that people often disagree on
> the best circumscription to use (lumpers v. splitters, etc.).

And this is why it will never be possible to specify a single valid name 
for most taxa.

> I agree, that with a better mechanism for encoding circumscriptions, we
> could at least have cleaner conversations about this (I think this is part
> of what phylogenetic nomenclature approaches are on about, except that they
> tend to strictly define circumscriptions in terms of clades, which gets
> messy when introgression/hybridization is at play).

For those of us who think of phylogenies as genealogies of species, the 
fuzziness at that level is to be expected, and a clade-based approach 
doomed to fail (again at that level).

> - Specimen-based (many specimens/individuals are enumerated as members of a
> taxon concept circumscription, to provide a richer set of circumscription
> boundaries). This is often the approached taken on taxonomic revisions, with
> large lists of "Material Examined".  The specimens are often representatives
> of entire populations, so this method is similar to the previous, except
> with finer granularity.

This is the way I learned it, and I think it was the commonest method in 
botany 30-40 years ago. Even when the specimens weren't enumerated, they 
often informed judgments, and types of alternate names were explicitly 
or implicitly compared against series of specimens.

Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768

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