[Taxacom] Does the species name have to change when it movesgenus?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Jun 18 21:07:38 CDT 2012

> we all live in a world with unique numbers identifying us <
yes, but the ID doesn't have to be a number
ultimately, for people, it is linked to something more meaningful, i.e., for me:
Stephen Ernest Thorpe, born 27 January 1970, in Coventry, England
THAT is essentially my unique identifier, any subsequent number is secondary to that, just to make the string shorter and/or of constant length for everybody ...
people's names alone were never really intended to be unique identifiers, but scientific names for taxa were so intended ...

From: Neal Evenhuis <neale at bishopmuseum.org>
To: Chris Thompson <xelaalex at cox.net>; Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk>; Frederick W. Schueler <bckcdb at istar.ca> 
Cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Tuesday, 19 June 2012 10:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Does the species name have to change when it movesgenus?

Chris tends to exaggerate here when making a point. The LSID for that species (which he misspelled) [the species is exiguaspina] is:


... but he wanted to make it look silly by also adding the LSID for each author, which is absolutely unnecessary but a nice trick to do when making a point. The LSID for the species name INCLUDES the authors so as to disambiguate that name from any other one with that spelling published in that genus on that date by those authors on that page. Without an LSID, two names with the same spelling published by an author or authors in the same work would look like X-us a-us Smith, 1850 but we could not know that there were TWO different species with that same name in that work. Entering the computer age and using LSIDs allows us to disambiguate those names.

Moreover, to criticize unique identifiers such is this is disingenuous since we all live in a world with unique numbers identifying us - and few complain. Globally, we are known by our passport number, so this is really the same as an LSID for humans (as Chris knows, some have two passports but that is a different story!). Those without passport numbers are essentially the same as species that have not been registered with ZooBank. Those people are known to a small group of people (either by taxpayer ID, driver's license number, a bank account number, etc.) but not necessarily everyone in the world can know that person uniquely separated from everyone else. As soon as everyone on the planet gets a globally unique identifying number can we really be known to everyone and not be confused with someone else. The same with species. Once every species has an LSID can we be assured we can separate it from everything else and especially those with the same name.

Gotta get back to my ms. I'm naming something after Chris...


On 6/18/12 11:28 AM, "Chris Thompson" <xelaalex at cox.net<mailto:xelaalex at cox.net>> scribbled the following tidbit:

B26AB2A6-972F-4A18-9D1D-486A980CF80F E9541A64-EC44-4856-B2AB-B4E8400358F8 &
1FDB5781-C8A0-4088-8D18-DCD5BB01C548 for our unique name! [or in the old
fashion system, Rhopalopsole exigupspira Du & Qian]

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