[Taxacom] ICZN loophole? - no originally included species

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Jul 28 17:44:36 CDT 2014

I don't see a problem here. If an old (<1930) genus group name was established without included species, then either: 
(1) there already are subsequently included species, or (2) there aren't any to date. While (2) seems unlikely, it could happen, so I think you are saying that some unscrupulous person could be the first to include a species, in fact any animal at all, and would thereby fix the type species by subsequent monotypy, and could thereby gain priority (for the original author) for a well known taxon. However, the genus would not have been used as valid since it was established (at leat this is very unlikely, since there were no included species), so Art. 23.9 would easily solve the problem (and, if not, an application to the Commission would certainly be successful!)...
On Mon, 28/7/14, David Campbell <pleuronaia at gmail.com> wrote:

 Subject: [Taxacom] ICZN loophole? - no originally included species
 To: "taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Monday, 28 July, 2014, 10:24 PM
 In reviewing available names for a
 particular family, I find a couple of
 genera from the early 1800's that are validly proposed, but
 have no validly
 included species.  Thus, whatever valid species is
 first included will
 define the genus.  The genera have brief descriptions
 and include nude
 species.  I am pondering whether specifying a type
 species will be useful
 to stabilize nomenclature.  The difficulty is that the
 names are early
 enough that they would displace almost any name in use for
 species likely
 to be originally intended.  Thus, for stability these
 genera would only be
 useful to validate in the context of recognizing a
 genus-level taxon not in
 current use.
 However, if I were to disregard recommendations about
 stability, my
 reputation as a taxonomist, etc., there doesn't seem to be
 anything legally
 preventing me from causing trouble by selecting any animal
 (s.l.) I like
 and making it the type.  Legal type designations do not
 have to conform to
 the type description.  I think this is a good idea, to
 avoid arguments over
 how well a given species fits the original genus
 description.    But it
 does seem unreasonable to be able to use something with no
 whatsoever to the original description.  For example,
 probably no one would
 be happy if I took a genus originally intended for a snail
 and tried to use
 it to pre-empt Drosophila or Tyrannosaurus.  No doubt
 the name would get
 suppressed if an attempt like that were made, but it would
 be a nuisance in
 the meantime.
 Dr. David Campbell
 Assistant Professor, Geology
 Department of Natural Sciences
 Box 7270
 Gardner-Webb University
 Boiling Springs NC 28017
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