[Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue May 14 17:30:33 CDT 2013


What we need is a coping strategy for dealing with poor quality taxonomy and its associated nomenclature. Mostly it is easy. If Hoser or whoever splits a genus into 10 genera, then you just treat them all as synonyms if you disagree. This makes the author of those new genera look foolish. Most such authors will probably take the hint before too long ...



________________________________
From: Wolfgang Wuster <w.wuster at bangor.ac.uk>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> 
Cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:22 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology



On 14/05/2013 22:35, Stephen Thorpe wrote:

Perhaps, be we also need a unified system of taxonomy and nomenclature, i.e. not one which subgroups (like herpetologists) want to tailor to their own best interests, because everyone's best interests are not the same, and you can't please all the people all of the time. We really don't want factionalism in taxonomy/nomenclature, and we particularly don't want factions deciding what is or isn't "scientific" (or rather, they can do so, but they can't ram it down other people's throats outside the faction)...
>
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The only "ramming down throats" is being performed by those who exploit the Code to force others to use some of their hundreds of unfounded names in those cases where the taxa concerned are found valid and without a senior synonym. I agree that a unified system of nomenclature is highly desirable. However, you cannot expect workers on one group of organisms to simply hand over much of their future nomenclatural output to a few fringe elements operating outside of the normal constraints of science just to "take one for the team". Herpetologists have already been there over the Wells & Wellington affair. While I am by and large in favour of elitismophobia, I don't think we should be blinded by it when it comes to recognising and acting against the extremes of taxonomic vandalism.

At the end of the day, the proof of the pudding will lie in subsequent usage. The suggestions of put forth by Kaiser et al. have gained considerable support from a number of major herpetological societies and bodies. If a move towards translating them into nomenclatural acts gains traction in herpetology, then relevant publications will start to appear. If no consensus emerges, then they won't. Time will tell.

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Dr. Wolfgang Wüster  -  Senior Lecturer
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