[Taxacom] Generic type of large genus belongs in different genus
rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Mon Apr 8 11:11:21 CDT 2013
Names of taxa should be, and generally are, meaningful. As Mayr noted
years ago, knowing the genus of a fruit fly allowed one to predict a
great many characters of the fly (i.e., why it is a fruit fly). If
names had no meaning, that would not be possible.
On 4/8/2013 3:39 AM, Roderic Page wrote:
> It seems to me that this discussion makes a mockery of notion that nomenclature is separate from taxonomy. Once you have bionomial names, and insist on those names being "meaningful" (i.e., the genus name tells you something about relationships) then you have a recipe for instability.
> The ICZN decision regarding Drosophila melanogaster was the right one in my opinion, but for the wrong reasons. Why does it matter if Drosophila melanogaster sits in a phylogeny next to some Sophophora species? What matters is its relationships, not what we call it.
> Names are a poor way to convey relationships, why burden them with this role? If you have no other way of conveying relationships then perhaps the trade off between stability and meaning seems worthwhile. But we do have powerful ways of visualising relationships, so it seems perverse to continue to change names (thus annoying people who use them) in the hope that names remain "meaningful". We don't expect the name of an organism to be meaningful ("maximus" might not be the biggest species, "africanus" might come from Australia), can we not let this last scrap of meaning go and save us (and the wider community) some grief?
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
> College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
> Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
> Tel: +44 141 330 4778
> Fax: +44 141 330 2792
> Skype: rdmpage
> Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rdmpage
> Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage
> Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com
> Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html
> Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roderic_D._M._Page
> Citations: http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en&user=4Z5WABAAAAAJ
> ORCID id: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7101-9767
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these methods:
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
> (2) a Google search specified as: site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
Richard J. Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
More information about the Taxacom