[Taxacom] names for non-existing species

John Noyes j.noyes at nhm.ac.uk
Mon Mar 25 10:53:56 CDT 2013

Hi Michael,

One springs to mind:  Eoörnis petrovelox gobiensis (woofen-poof ) - a mythical bird that inhabited the Gobi desert but is now extinct probably because it few so fast that it embedded itself in tree trunks that it could not avoid because of its fast flight. See Augustus C. Fotheringham: http://www.amazon.com/Eo%C3%B6rnis-pterovelox-gobiensis-Augustus-Fortheringham/dp/1906267057 

"As the author explains, 'Through countless ages and successive civilizations this remarkable bird has been the symbol of speed, stamina, grace of line, proportion of members, and beauty of motion.' Here are the origins of the phrase, 'graceful as a bird.' A classic 'burlesque' in the history of science. Not a hoax. Not a mistake. It's a raucous, now legendary, adventure through the zoology and natural history of a most unusual creature. Written in the 1920s by Augustus C. Fotheringham, a pseudonym for Lester Sharp and Cuthbert Bancroft Fraser, this monograph has circulated far and wide. For years, it has moved quietly through scientist circles, handed down with a wink and a nod. If nothing else, Eoörnis shows the passion and dedication scientists have for their subject. Profits from the sale of this facsimile will be donated to support natural history museums."


John Noyes
Scientific Associate
Department of Life Sciences
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
South Kensington
London SW7 5BD 
jsn at nhm.ac.uk
Tel.: +44 (0) 207 942 5594
Fax.: +44 (0) 207 942 5229

Universal Chalcidoidea Database (everything you wanted to know about chalcidoids and more):

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Ohl, Michael
Sent: 25 March 2013 15:45
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] names for non-existing species

And another question to the list.

I know of only very few publications, in which properly formed scientific species-group names have been published explicitly for non-existing organisms, which, as a consequence, are invalid (names proposed for hypothetical concepts, Art. 1.3.1). Examples are:

-          Shillingsworthia shillingsworthi Girault, which has been cited in various lists on curious scientific names.

-          Several names published by Dougal Dixon in his well-known book 'After man'.

-          The Rhinogradentia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinogradentia), which have made their way into a few zoology textbooks.

I don't think of Warner Brothers' list of so-called 'Latin names' of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote (http://purpletigercreations.com/Portfolio/portfolio/web/roadRunner/latin.htm), because these are just funny and arbitrary combinations of Latin-looking words, which are not 'seriously' formed.

So do any of you know more examples for 'seriously' formed names, which have been explicitly published for non-existing organisms?

Cheers, Michael

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