[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Adam Cotton adamcot at cscoms.com
Wed Feb 22 05:01:04 CST 2012

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul van Rijckevorsel" <dipteryx at freeler.nl>
To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 3:30 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] validation of taxon names

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).



It seems to me that the misunderstanding here is actually about how the word 
"available" is applied under the ICZN Code.

The important point here is that the Code governs 3 levels of nomenclature, 
*Family Group*, *Genus Group* and *Species Group* names as SEPARATE 
entities. The individual names in each group are either available or 
unavailable depending on whether they comply with the various relevant 
articles of the Code.

Under the Zoological Code the word "available" is not applied to a 
combination of genus + species but to the individual (single word) names. 
The VALID name of a species consists of the oldest available genus and 
species name applicable to the taxon.

Subspecies, Subgenus, Tribe names etc all fall into one of the 3 groups 
governed by the Code (for example, a Subspecies name is part of the Species 
Group names, a Tribe name is part of the Family Group). What level these 
names are treated at is a taxonomic decision NOT governed by the Code, so a 
taxonomist can treat a Subspecies name as a species if he believes this to 
be the case. In separating subspecies into (say) two species the VALID name 
for each species is the oldest AVAILABLE Species Group name among the taxa 
considered within each species.

Junior synonyms are still available names and can become the valid name if 
the previously valid name is actually shown to be unavailable (usually due 
to homonymy or a non-Code compliant original description, such as at 
infrasubspecific level). This is particularly important for homonymy, as all 
available names are considered for homonymy, as are some names that are 
actually unavailable under the Code, but still available only for the 
purposes of homonymy.

I hope this clarifies things.


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