[Taxacom] Binomial Nomenclature - was: "cataloguing hypotheses & not real things"

Dan Lahr dlahr at ib.usp.br
Sun Sep 1 08:23:37 CDT 2013

Thank you for the reference Fred.

I did mean to write "to my knowledge" in that sentence. My apologies.
Reading up the paper, very nice case study on the impact of binomials in
instability of birds names.  I wonder if the trend continued in the
following +/- 40 years. Thanks JStor, I am traveling and Syst Biol is of
course behind a paywall.

I am puzzled by two things:

1. Paul, I can see where you are coming from (as an aside, in a brief
search I dug this interesting one coming from a phylocode framework [1]),
namely that people are used to a system and do not want to change.

I cannot agree that a historical tendency that good ideas have of not being
implemented in nomenclature should be a deterrent to the attempt. We all
agree it needs improvement and apparently it has been at least 40 years
since someone pointed out in a major journal that a switch to uninomial
would benefit all (almost 50 in fact, as Rising and Schueler's paper are
actually in support of a 1964 Michener article [2]).  Interestingly, the
very first paragraph of Rising and Schueler's 1972 paper addresses this
precise issue! It is also emphatically addressed in the above mentioned
Cantino paper.

2. Fred says such a change "runs counter to the spirit of the codes" - I
think I missed the point. A large number of taxonomists agree that they
have to use the Codes right? I don't understand how agreeing on something
else is "counter"...



Literature cited:

[1] - "Binomials, Hyphenated Uninomials, and Phylogenetic Nomenclature"
Philip D. Cantino
Taxon , Vol. 47, No. 2 (May, 1998), pp. 425-429

[2] - "The Possible Use of Uninominal Nomenclature to Increase the
Stability of Names in Biology"
 Charles D. Michener
 Systematic Zoology , Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1964), pp. 182-190

On Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 2:18 PM, Fred Schueler <bckcdb at istar.ca> wrote:

> On 9/1/2013 5:58 AM, Dan Lahr wrote:
> > One of the things that I often wonder is why nobody ever suggested a more
> > logical, parsimonious and I suspect bioinformatics friendlier (not my
> area,
> > can someone confirm?) transition to uninomial nomenclature.
> * nobody? - Rising, James D., and Frederick W.  Schueler.  1972.  How
> stable is binominal nomenclature?  Systematic Zoology 21:438-439 - it's
> been suggested many times, it's just that adoption would require large
> numbers of taxonomists to agree on something, which runs counter to the
> spirit of the Codes.
> fred.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
>           Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
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Daniel J. G. Lahr, PhD
Assist. Prof., Dept of Zoology,
Univ. of Sao Paulo, Brazil
+ 55 (11) 3091 0948

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