[Taxacom] Why stability?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Apr 30 16:23:33 CDT 2015


Rich,

I suspect that you have already invested too much time and effort in this "sensu" (or "sec") notion to want to backtrack now, but some of what is being said on the subject just isn't true! There are a great many species, which are routinely identified for various purposes, but for which there is no publication upon which the IDs are based. That is an undeniable fact, like it or not! Even in botany this is true. Botanists here routinely identify exotic plants growing in cultivation in gardens and parks, and there are often no modern taxonomic treatments of the species concerned. If one were to adopt a "sensu" or "sec" system across the board, it would add greatly to complexity, while adding little or nothing of any use. It might get a few more citations for a few more taxonomic publications, but that's about it, and I don't care about that. What publication do you suggest that we cite for identification of Homo sapiens? Linnaeus' original description is
 pretty useless.

Stephen

--------------------------------------------
On Fri, 1/5/15, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
 To: "'JF Mate'" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>, "'Taxacom'" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Friday, 1 May, 2015, 6:05 AM
 
 Errr.... yeah.  What he
 said.
 
 Rich
 
 > -----Original
 Message-----
 > From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
 On Behalf Of
 > JF Mate
 > Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 3:15 PM
 > To: Taxacom
 > Subject:
 Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
 > 
 > Sorry Stephen but this is incorrect.
 Everybody´s "experience" is a combination
 > of actual experience (burning the midnight
 oil comparing own material against
 >
 identified specimens in a museum or advice from colleagues
 or mentors that
 > we have internalised
 and made our own for
 > example) and
 literature. By putting your name on the I.D. label and the
 year
 > you tell others more or less at
 what stage of your experience you where at
 > when you attached the label. The
 "sec" is to indicate on which authors you rely
 > on (let´s face it, nobody is an expert in
 every group). For example, in Europe if
 >
 you work on scarabs you rely on Baraud and Balthasar most of
 the time. In 50
 > years we may have
 different ones but it would be helpful to know which one
 > you owned or used most often or a that
 time. As a practical example think of
 >
 Aphodius fimetarius. Since 2001 I write "sensu Wilson
 2001" to make it clear
 > that the
 concept I am using acknowledges the specific distinctiveness
 of
 > pedellus.
 > 
 > As to citing the authority, I see it as
 part of the binomial. It makes
 >
 communication more accurate.
 > 
 > Jason
 > 
 > On 30 April 2015 at 01:15, Stephen Thorpe
 <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 > wrote:
 > > What Mary
 said is, IMHO, somewhat mixed up and confused! One should
 cite
 > the authors of the original
 combination primarily for nomenclatural (not
 > taxonomic reasons). Botany confuses the
 issue by making combinations a
 >
 nomenclatural matter. Zoology treats them (almost entirely)
 as taxonomic. The
 > "reference used
 for the identification" is another matter altogether.
 Most IDs
 > published in ecological
 studies are done by people ("experts"), who, like
 myself,
 > identify taxa based more on
 experience/memory with relevant collections and
 > familiarity with the local fauna, rather
 than by way of a specific publication.
 >
 Many species can only be identified by a historical chain of
 IDs, hopefully
 > involving comparision to
 the type at some stage along the way. They cannot be
 > identified from the literature.
 > >
 > > Stephen
 > >
 > >
 > >
 --------------------------------------------
 > > On Thu, 30/4/15, Mary Barkworth
 <Mary.Barkworth at usu.edu>
 wrote:
 > >
 > > 
 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
 >
 >  To: "JF Mate" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>,
 "Taxacom"
 > > <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 > >  Received: Thursday, 30 April, 2015,
 10:51 AM
 > >
 >
 >  IMO. It is not the lack
 > > 
 of a catchy name that has prevented the practice of citing 
 the
 > > reference used for
 identification in giving a scientific  name but the
 > > insistence by taxonomists that one
 should cite  the original author(s)
 >
 > of the combination and that this  provides accuracy of
 interpretation.
 > > It was not until
 the  Vienna Botanical Congress of 2005 (or
 > > thereabouts) that the  wording the
 botanical code read "In
 > >
 publications,  particularly those dealing with taxonomy
 and
 > > nomenclature,  it **may** be
 desirable, even when no bibliographic
 >
 > reference to the protologue is made, to cite the
 author(s)  of the
 > > name concerned
 ...". Before that it read as if  one always had to
 cite
 > > the authors - and all journal
 and  book editors wanted the works they
 > > published seen to be good  science
 so they required citation of the
 > >
 original authors  and people that became faculty said it
 was necessary
 > > too.
 > >
 > >  So we
 have to change a culture. That is  always difficult.  I
 have
 > > been told I do not
 understand  nomenclature for  arguing that one
 > > should cite the  reference used to
 determine the name (a flora or some
 >
 > such).
 > >  The objections that
 I have heard are that someone is simply  using
 > > the name they were told by someone
 else or that they  know the plant
 > >
 so well they do not know whether it has ever  had another
 concept, or
 > > that they are using
 the concept they  have developed.
 >
 >  One reason I like the
 > > 
 Symbiota data entry form is that it provides for citing
 the
 > > reference used (although
 perhaps it should be visible by
 > > 
 default?) but taxonomists have spent decades convincing 
 people that,
 > > to be good science,
 the original authors of  scientific names should
 > > be cited. We should not be
 surprised  if it takes a similar length of
 > > time to change the practice.
 > >  Do those of you that are journal
 editors ask for information  as to
 >
 > the reference used for an identification or for the 
 original authors
 > > of the
 combination.
 > >  Mary
 > >
 > >
 > >
 > >
 > > 
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 > >
 >
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