[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Wed Feb 22 02:30:49 CST 2012


If (and I am still not quite clear on this) a binomen is not an
available name (except in the case of secondary homonymy)
this should have a number of consequences (besides my
having to revisit my understanding of the zoological Code).

In the Glossary of the zoological Code the definition of
"available name" should be adjusted. However, simply
eliminating the word "scientific" is not going to help: a
binominal name is still a name and would then thus remain
available, unless one would want to explicitly state that
a binominal name is not a name, something which the
world at large certainly will not understand. Probably,
it will be necessary to spell this out in detail for each
of the different areas (as under the "homonym" entry),
and likely it will then be a good idea to explicitly say
something about availability and the names above
the rank of superfamily (need these be available at all?).

In the same Glossary the entry for "potentially valid name"
also looks to be in need of adjustment (a binomen that
could become a valid name, under the right taxonomy, is
apparently not an available name), unless of course a
potentially valid name is not a name that could become
valid. And probably other entries such as "conserved
name" and "unavailable name"?

It should also have consequences for the botanical Code.
It may be a good idea to rethink Art. 45.4, although it is
not obvious to me what would be a better phrasing.
However, Art. 45 Ex. 9 and 10 clearly then become
rather dubious; this is not relevant for Ex. 10, as this is
due to be eliminated since it applies to a member of the
Microsporidia, but it may be a good idea to adjust Ex. 9.
The worst is the footnote.

I suppose the relationship between the zoological and
botanical Code could then be expressed as:
"The term "validly published name" in the botanical Code
is comparable (but not identical) to the term "available name"
in the zoological Code for names at the ranks of superfamily
to genus, as well as at the rank of subgenus, but not for
names of species and subspecies. These terms are closely
comparable for names above the rank of superfamily."
It does not look like an easy-to-understand relationship
to me, and once again emphasizes how different botanical
and zoological nomenclature are. Any attempt to make a
statement across both nomenclatural universes painfully
brings to mind the saying about fools and angels ...

Paul

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
To: "'Paul van Rijckevorsel'" <dipteryx at freeler.nl>;
<taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 5:27 PM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] validation of taxon names


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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