[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Sun Feb 19 02:36:49 CST 2012

From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2012 6:00 AM

>> 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.
> ...which is PRECISELY the point I was making.
> Aloha,
> Rich

This looks to be an overstatement, as there are plenty of taxa/species
that are uncontroversial (there is consensus over their circumscription),
but certainly it is true enough, often enough, to make it a bad idea to
write non-taxonomical statements of the kind "Fantastica is a so-and-so
taxon". The latter suggests a direct relation to God, who has revealed
the One-and-Only-Truth to the author. It is almost always a good idea
to provide / refer to a circumscription.

This is nothing new. The time-honored format is to use something like
"Imaginaria, as envisioned by the great scientist Pryzikowski, consists
of ... " or "Fritillaria, as treated in the Flora of North America, is ...".

On another note, defining taxa by ennumerating the components is
rather untraditional, and in fact has been explicitly disallowed in the
botanical Code as a way to define new taxa.


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