[Taxacom] names for non-existing species

Ohl, Michael Michael.Ohl at mfn-berlin.de
Tue Mar 26 12:31:19 CDT 2013

Hi Cristian,

thanks to the information on Fontcuberta, which is new to me.

The Haeckel story is quite different. Pithecantropus erectus was published by Dubois, who was motivated to go to Java by Haeckel's ideas about the origin of humans in that geographic area. Haeckel in a privatissime lecture in 1865 (published in 1868) suggested ten species in the genus Homo, which are listed here (in original German spelling):

1.      Affen-Mensch (Homo primigenius),

2.      Papua-Mensch (Homo papua),

3.      Südafrikanischer Mensch (Homo hottentottus),

4.      Mittelafrikanischer Mensch (Homo afer),

5.      Neuholländischer Mensch (Homo alfurus),

6.      Malayischer Mensch (Homo polynesius),

7.      Polar-Mensch (Homo arcticus),

8.      Gelber Mensch (Homo mongolicus),

9.      Rother Mensch (Homo americanus),
10.  Weißer Mensch (Homo caucasicus)

Homo primigenius is the name of the hypothetical ancestor of humans, and Haeckel also used the combination Pithecanthropus primigenius, because he thought that this (hypothetical) species is the link between early man and its ancestors. In the earliest evolution phase of human, he hypothesized a change from earliest "ape-men" to still non-speaking Pithecanthropus alalus. The oil-painting you refer to shows a family of Pithecanthropus alalus painted by Gabriel von Max, which was given to Haeckel and which he added to his famous book "Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte".

So since Homo primigenius was explicitly published as a hypothetical concept, it clearly violates Art. 1.3.1. But what about the other nine names, which were published for existing "species" in Haeckel's interpretation? I assume that they are valid in terms of the code.


Von: Cristian Ruiz Altaba [mailto:cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es]
Gesendet: Dienstag, 26. März 2013 17:58
An: Ohl, Michael
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Betreff: Re: [Taxacom] names for non-existing species

Two further examples.

Pithecanthropus erectus named by Haeckel as the "missing link". He even provided a picture of a falimy, with a beer-belly bearded ape-like creature standing near a monkey-footed female holding a baby. A name with a figure. Later on it was used by Dubois when he found bones in Java, thus making Haeckel's name a reality (but not his authorship).

Check this: http://www.fontcuberta.com/ and look for the Fauna project. Amazing. It shows how silly we can be when trusting whatever we are told. With scientific names for all those fantastic animals. Nowhere does the book published state it its not ICZN-compliant. No hint that it is all fake. So all those absurd animals got Code-abiding names.



Cristian Ruiz Altaba
DG Medi Natural, Educació Ambiental i Canvi Climàtic
Conselleria d'Agricultura, Medi Ambient i Territori
Govern de les Illes Balears

-----taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu escribió: -----
Para: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
De: "Ohl, Michael" <Michael.Ohl at mfn-berlin.de>
Enviado por: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Fecha: 25/03/2013 16:44
Asunto: [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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