[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Thu Feb 23 02:27:45 CST 2012

From: "Adam Cotton" <adamcot at cscoms.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:01 PM
> 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.

Yes, the zoological Code may be said to govern three (or four) separate
nomenclatural universes, but this is not what causes the confusion, at least
not directly.

In the family group the publication of any new scientific name also makes
available the corresponding scientific names in all the other ranks. This
is not a problem (although it is a big difference with how things are
arranged under the botanical Code).

In the genus group the publication of any new scientific name also makes
available the corresponding scientific name in the other rank. Again, this
is not a problem (although, again, it is a big difference with how things
are arranged under the botanical Code).

However, 46.1 is problematical. It is clear that this has been drafted in
parallel to the provisions on the other two groups, but it is very hard to
read. The last part of the sentence speaks of nominal taxa, which have
come into existence by the publication of the first name. The Glossary
is quite clear about nominal taxa and what constitutes their scientific
(and available) name: it explicitly points out Homo sapiens as the available
name of a nominal taxon at the species level. So, once Homo sapiens has
been published the name Homo sapiens sapiens also exists. So far so good.

The first part of 46.1 appears to be a mine field. Clearly Homo sapiens
is established only as the scientific name of a species, not as the name
of a subspecies, nor can it be the name of subspecies. On the other
hand, the entry on "establish" in the Glossary seems to be very sure
that only names of nominal taxa (uninominal, binominal, or trinominal)
can be established (why else have a separate term, otherwise it would
just be equivalent to "to make available"). So, I am not getting
anywhere in reading this.

I am guessing that the intent of the first part of 46.1 is something like:
   A species-group name made available as part of a name of a taxon
   at either rank in the species group is thereby simultaneously made
   available, by the same author, for use as part of the scientific name
   of a nominal taxon at the other rank in the group;

However, that is not what it says ...


P.S. the Glossary is pretty clear that only a binomen can be the valid
name of a species (and this is borne out by the body of the Code).

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