[Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

Adam Cotton adamcot at cscoms.com
Thu May 16 06:43:10 CDT 2013

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
To: "Wolfgang Wuster" <w.wuster at bangor.ac.uk>
Cc: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:14 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

It is impossible to solve the problem. I would be more inclined to agree 
with you and call for a total ban against some people, like Hoser, except 
that the problem isn't as simple as that. There is no clear dichotomy 
between good and bad taxonomy. It is a continuum. I have seen too many 
"scientists" from "reputable" institutions publishing rubbish in "reputable" 
journals, and getting their mates/colleagues to pass it through peer review. 
The only possible solution, though it probably runs too much counter to 
current "trends", is to simply consider authorship of names as a mere 
technicality, with no significant merit to the namer. That way, Hoser can 
continue wasting his life on mere technicalities if he so wishes, but there 
would be little motivation for him to do so, and no real harm to anyone 
else. If he creates a new genus for every species of herp, then the names of 
any subsequently recognised new genera (based on described species) will 
likely bear
 his name as author OF THE NAME, but this is just a mere technicality, of no 
consequence ...


I cannot see it would be a good idea for the ICZN Code, Commission or any 
subsequently authorised body to act as judge and jury over the rights or 
wrongs of two or more competing groups or individuals as we see in the 
Wuster-Hoser situation discussed in this thread. There is just too much 
scope for claims of bias by either side. The ICZN, in order to maintain its 
authority over the rules covering nomenclature must be seen to be TOTALLY 
impartial, and any regulations introduced to control these sorts of problems 
would likely end up in accusations of partiality on the side of the ICZN, or 
at least its representatives making such decisions.

Adam Cotton. 

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