[Taxacom] Use of geographic range data as diagnostic characters

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Feb 18 01:17:34 CST 2013

Yes, but Doug, I didn't interpret the question: 
>> Does the ICZN forbid or recommend against this?<<
in the extreme sense of geography *alone*, and I don't think that there is much to suggest that this extreme reading was what was meant. The fact that Derek mentions keys suggests to me that he has some vague idea that adding geographical characters might nullify an otherwise perfectly valid original description. At the very least it is ambiguous, with a bit of "nonsense" required for both interpretations, since who in their right mind would define a species based on geography *alone*? 

From: Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu>
Sent: Monday, 18 February 2013 7:01 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Use of geographic range data as diagnostic characters

Stephen Thorpe wrote:

>Hold on, the original question in this thread was:
>>>  Does anyone know of a publication that addresses the issue of 
>>>using geographic range data in a species diagnosis? And /or in 
>>>an identification key?<<
>Diagnoses and keys are what I am talking about ... I'm not sure that 
>there is a clear distinction between circumscription and practical 

If you re-read the full question, Derek also asked:

>>  Does the ICZN forbid or recommend against this?

THAT is what Thomas and I were replying to. "A diagnostic feature" 
(which geography may certainly be) is not necessarily synonymous with 
"a Code-compliant descriptor", and - in my opinion - the Code does 
effectively forbid it, in the sense that geography *alone* cannot be 
used to define a taxon.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology        Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82


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