[Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

Chris Thompson xelaalex at cox.net
Tue Jan 14 07:20:17 CST 2014


Sorry, but a little history ...

Yes, when Linnaeus started his Systema Naturae, Latin was the accepted, 
universal language of science / scholarship / etc.

but our Science (at least Zoology) has moved on from there.

Today a name is simply an universal, unique tag for a concept that denotes 
what we call a "species," and an indicator of where we place the species in 
a hierarchical classification.

So, as I once proposed, the ICZN could be simplified and greatly reduced if 
the historical factor of language / gender was removed.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of people objected.

So, today we now have had to build a new registration system (ZooBank) and 
create digital identifiers as these people objected to adapting the old 
system to the new digital interconnected world, etc.

HOWEVER, as a practical solution for all who proposed new species-group 
names, they can declare that those new names are simply "arbitrary 
combination of letters ... to be used as a word." If done, then their ending 
does not change.  And the best practice is always to have a derivation 
paragraph / sentence to explain to future users what you as the original 
author intended the name to be, etc.

As for the past, beware of Art. 33.3.1, what I call the "Tubbs" clause. That 
is, regardless of whether name is properly or improperly formed originally, 
the "... spelling ... in prevailing usage ...  is deemed to be the correct 
original spelling."

So, one needs only to determine whether Neoromicia nanus is used more than 
Neoromicia nana. Language is irrelevant as usage determined the "correct 
original spelling!"

Oh, well



-----Original Message----- 
From: Francisco Welter-Schultes
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 7:26 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

> On 1/13/14 11:11 AM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>> This is perhaps a good example of why the Code requires simplification?
>> Endless debate over Latin grammar doesn't really help biological
>> understanding!
> I figured you wouldn't be able to restrain yourself. This is precisely
> why I commented that we can use registration to solve the problem. Once
> a name is registered as a noun or adjective, the debate ENDS.

I am not in favour of a rule that the First Person to Place an Entry into
an electronic data resource has the right to take such a decision and to
stop a debate in this form. There must be escape rules what to do if the
entry is incorrect, and there again the debate would continue.

> Robert's arguments, BTW, are sound, but the ICZN does indeed work
> differently from botany; if a name can be either a noun or an adjective
> (which is what is claimed for nanus), then it is noun by default under
> Art. 31.2.2.

I also regard this point as valid, however I do not consider this as a
useful rule. It seems the rule is not used in the community, at least not
strictly, and at least not by the malacological community. It should be
replaced by a better rule in the next edition. I fully agree with Stephen.


Francisco Welter-Schultes
Zoologisches Institut, Berliner Str. 28, D-37073 Goettingen
Phone +49 551 395536

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