[Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

Wolfgang Wuster w.wuster at bangor.ac.uk
Tue May 21 14:08:53 CDT 2013

On 21/05/2013 17:53, Scott Monks wrote:
> As a "devout" atheist I certainly am appalled by the seemingly world-wide rise of that general viewpoint, but I find equating a "squabble" about approaches that is between taxonomists/systematists to rape to be a deplorable approach!

I am sorry if my use of that term caused offence. However, in its sense 
of "to plunder, to destroy or despoil", the term does seem fitting in a 
situation where a discipline has been subjected to seeing 76% of new 
genus-group names and 16% of all new species-group names of one major 
taxon in the 21st century proposed speculatively by one worker with the 
intention of using the Principle of Priority to force these upon 
subsequent authors if they happen to be the oldest names available for a 
newly identified taxon. As I have tried to clarify before, this is not 
about different approaches or a few instances of bad taxonomy, however 
defined, but about a major problem for herpetological taxonomy. The 
widespread view here, that herpetology's problems are nobody else's 
problems, brought on the rest of the analogy.

Moreover, I must respectfully disagree with the suggestion that we 
should simply accept the current situation as immutable. The problems we 
are grappling with here are acknowledged by all to be age-old and to 
have affected a wide variety of taxa. However, it appears that we are 
not only condemned to clean up the mess for all eternity, but moreover, 
we are expected to not even *aspire* to find a better solution. The 
dismissal or lack of willingness to even consider or discuss Doug 
Yanega's innovative ideas, which could potentially lead to a genuine 
democratization of the nomenclatural process, is another facet of that 
outlook. Is this really the best we should seek to do? The case that 
there is no better solution would seem much more credible if other 
possibilities were given *serious* consideration, taking into account 
technological innovation that could help contribute to an open, 
accountable and sensible regulation of nomenclature. It seems 
unfortunate that the regular occurrence of problems of this nature does 
not stimulate a more constructive search for possible solutions.

Thanks for reading.


Dr. Wolfgang Wüster  -  Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences    Bangor University
Environment Centre Wales
Bangor LL57  2UW                 Wales, UK
Tel: +44 1248 382301  Fax: +44 1248 382569
E-mail: w.wuster at bangor.ac.uk

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