[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Tue Feb 21 10:49:20 CST 2012


I had already left a note in 2010 in Gary Rosenberg's ICZN-Wiki to modify
the Glossary's definition for

species name or name of a species.

Current definition: "A scientific name of a taxon at the rank of species.
A binomen, the combination of a generic name and a specific name (an
interpolated name, such as a subgeneric name or an interpolated
species-group name [Art. 6], when used, is not counted as one of the names
in a binomen)."

This definition should be improved, it is inconsistent and probably
incorrect in the way most readers understand it.
"A binomen" is not an integral part of the definition of a scientific name
of a species, this passage should be removed. It is widely accepted that a
combination Genus (Subgenus) species is a scientific name for a species
(what else should it be? certainly not a vernacular name, and not a
scientific name of something else than a species), but it is not a
binomen. The terms "species name" and "binomen" are not equivalent, as is
suggested in the current definition, "binomen" is a special case of a
species name (= one that has no interpolated name). It is not necessary to
mention the definition for "binomen" in this entry here.

Proposal for an emendation:

"A scientific name of a taxon at the rank of species. It consists of a
combination of at least a generic and a specific name, and can also
contain interpolated names, such as a subgeneric name or an interpolated
species-group name [Art. 6]."


scientific name

I think the definition for "scientific name" is in agreement with current
usage of this term.


available name.

"A scientific name applied to an animal taxon that is not excluded under
Article 1.3 and that conforms to the provisions of Articles 10 to 20."

I agree that the term "scientific name" in this definition is misleading,
and the resulting sense not well aligned with current usage of the term
"available name" as outlined by Rich.

> I think the solution is to alter the Glossary definition of "available
> name"
> to simply say "A name applied to an animal taxon..." (i.e., eliminate the
> word "scientific").

This would be an appropriate solution.

Francisco



> You've hit upon an interesting issue here, and one that I think represents
> an inconsistency within the Code, and something of a disconnect between
> part
> of the Code (glossary definition of "available name") and the way most
> zoologists actually think.  I would be very curious to hear from other
> practicing zoologists on this topic.
>
> According to the Glossary, the answer is clear:
>
> available name
> A scientific name applied to an animal taxon that is not excluded under
> Article 1.3 and that conforms to the provisions of Articles 10 to 20.
>
> Note the use of the term "scientific name", which, by the Glossary
> Definition, means the full combination (binomen, in the case of species
> names):
>
> scientific name
> Of a taxon: a name that conforms to Article 1, as opposed to a vernacular
> name. The scientific name of a taxon at any rank above the species group
> consists of one name; that of a species, two names (a binomen); and that
> of
> a subspecies, three names (a trinomen) [Arts. 4 and 5]. A scientific name
> is
> not necessarily available.
>
> However, the qualifying word "scientific" does not appear anywhere within
> Articles 10 to 20. Only the word "name" is used.
>
> One could argue that one of the three definitions of "name" listed in the
> Glossary is "Equivalent to scientific name", and thus when the word "name"
> is used in Articles 10 to 20 it implies "scientific name".
>
> However, if you read these Articles, they seem to be clearly worded in the
> sense that "Availability" applies to the "name" sensu definition #3 (i.e.,
> the epithet in cases of species-group names).  For example, Art. 11.9
> (Availability of Species-group names).  Indeed, consider Art. 11.9.3.1.:
> "the generic name need not be valid or even available;"  In other words,
> this article seems to explicitly state that a species-group name *is*
> available, even if the "scientific name" (binomen) is functionally not
> available (due to the fact that the Genus name can be unavailable -- which
> would surely render the binomen "unavailable").
>
> Until I read the Glossary definition for "available name", it was
> absolutely
> clear to me that "availability" applies directly to the "name" (sensu
> definition #3; that is, the epithet) -- and a reading of the Code itself
> seems to bear this out.
>
> I think the solution is to alter the Glossary definition of "available
> name"
> to simply say "A name applied to an animal taxon..." (i.e., eliminate the
> word "scientific").
>
> So....in answers to your questions, if we assume that the Code in bulk is
> correct and the Glossary definition of "available name" is misleading by
> the
> inclusion of the word "scientific":
>
> The name of a species (the epithet) is an available name, regardless of
> whether or not the genus with which it is combined (the genus) is an
> available name.
>
> Put another way, a scientific name of a species consists of two names (a
> species-group name and a genus-group name); the availability of each of
> those two names is independent of the other.
>
> Aloha,
> Rich
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
>> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Paul van Rijckevorsel
>> Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 11:04 PM
>> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] validation of taxon names
>>
>> The end user is interested in the scientific name of a taxon, and the
> Glossary
>> of the zoological Code is clear about this aspect.
>> The zoological Code regards specific and subspecific names
>> (jointly: species-group names) as 'names' as well but this is an
>> internal,
>> zoological nomenclatural matter.
>>
>> What I am confused about here is not the scientific name of a taxon,
>> which
>> the Glossary is clear about. The Glossary also appears to be clear that
> these
>> scientific names of taxa are available names. So, I can envision the
> following
>> possibilities:
>> 1) the name of a species, the binomen, is an available name, but the
> specific
>> name is not an available name
>> 2) the name of a species, the binomen, is an available name, and the
> specific
>> name is also an available name
>> 3) the name of a species, the binomen, is an available name, but
>> although
>> the specific name is both a name and available, it is not an available
> name (of
>> course, this would be strange, but no stranger than other things that
>> are
> in
>> the zoological Code).
>>
>> and apparently 4) the name of a species, the binomen, is not an
>> available
>> name, but the specific name is an available name?
>>
>> As to the comparison between botany and zoology, whenever a species-
>> group name can be an available name there is a absolute break down (even
> if
>> only local, in some cases) between the two. In botany a "validly
>> published
>> name" is always the "scientific name of a taxon"; it is unimaginable
>> that
> a
>> specific epithet (or any other epithet), by itself, can be a) either a
> name or b)
>> validly published. This divide is, of course, even bigger because in
> zoology a
>> specific name may exist even if it never was part of a complete
>> scientific
>> name of a taxon, a binomen (11.9.3.1). This is really, really weird,
>> from
> a
>> botanical nomenclatural perspective!
>>
>> Paul
>>
>>
>> From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
>> Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 8:10 PM
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] validation of taxon names
>>
>>
>> > Thank you. I will try and digest this. It does not seem to make sense
>> > that the name of a species (the binomen) is not available (except in
>> > the case of secondary homonymy),
>>
>> That's not exactly what I said.  The availability of a name of a species
> (the
>> epithet) is independent of the genus with which it is combined, except
>> in
> the
>> (relatively rare) case of species-group homonymy.
>>
>> The confusion is not about availability or homonymy.  The confusion
>> comes
>> back to my hints over several recent posts that the definition of "a
>> name"
>> is not as consistent throughout the taxonomic community as you seem to
>> suggest.  To most botanists, "a name" is a combination.  That's fine
> (binomial
>> nomenclature, and all).  But not all zoologists see it this way;
> especially when
>> applying rules of the Code.  While you certainly can make the argument
> that
>> the full combination is "the name", one can also make an equally
> legitimate
>> argument that the placement of a species epithet within a genus is an
>> act
> of
>> taxonomy/classification, not nomenclature.  It only bumps into
> nomenclature
>> (from the perspective of many zoologists) when homonymy is at play.
>>
>> Note: one part about the zoological code that is confusing is that it
>> uses
> the
>> word "name" both in the sense of the binomial, and in the sense of the
>> within-group name element.
>>
>> The glossary definition of the unqualified "name" is not particularly
>> helpful:
>>
>> name, n.
>> (1) (general) A word, or ordered sequence of words, conventionally used
>> to
>> denote and identify a particular entity (e.g. a person, place, object,
> concept).
>> (2) Equivalent to scientific name (q.v.). (3) An element of the name of
>> a
>> species-group taxon: see generic name, subgeneric name, specific name,
>> subspecific name.
>>
>> #1 is almost useless; #3 defines "name" as being the individual
>> elements;
> and
>> #2 refers to "scientific name":
>>
>> scientific name
>> Of a taxon: a name that conforms to Article 1, as opposed to a
>> vernacular
>> name. The scientific name of a taxon at any rank above the species group
>> consists of one name; that of a species, two names (a binomen); and that
> of
>> a subspecies, three names (a trinomen) [Arts. 4 and 5]. A scientific
>> name
> is
>> not necessarily available.
>>
>> ...which says that a scientific name cosnsists of one, two, or three
>> names
>> (seems a bit circular to me that a name=scientific name; but a
>> scientific
> name
>> = 1 name, 2 names, or 3 names....)
>>
>> In any case, many botanists seem to think that the botanical approach
>> (combinations are "the name") is much more stable, sensible, and
>> logical.
>> Funnily enough, many zoologists feel the same way about the zoological
>> approach.  The naïve taxonomists make the mistake of thinking that the
>> "other guys" are being naïve (somewhat ironic).  But the people who
>> really
>> think about and understand both approaches, realize that they are both
>> right, and they are both wrong, to about equal degrees.  Proof of this
>> is
> that
>> both approaches have been about equally successful, and equally
>> problematic, for the last couple of centuries.
>>
>> > but certainly if species-group names are available names there is even
>> > less correspondence between the zoological and botanical Codes than I
>> > had supposed.
>>
>> I suspect that you are probably right about that.
>>
>> > In that case it would be a lot safer to say something like "a validly
>> > published name in botany is more or less comparable with an available
>> > name in zoology; in some cases fairly closely and in some cases not at
>> > all".
>>
>> I would tend to agree with that statement, although "not at all" might
>> be
> a bit
>> strong.  I would replace it with "...and in some cases, much less so."
>>
>> Aloha,
>> Rich
>>
>>
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Francisco Welter-Schultes
Zoologisches Institut, Berliner Str. 28, D-37073 Goettingen
Phone +49 551 395536
http://www.animalbase.org





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