[Taxacom] manuscript name question

Dean Pentcheff pentcheff at gmail.com
Thu Oct 8 01:19:36 CDT 2015


There seems to be a negative reaction to the term "dead bodies" for animals
that are preserved in museum collection. I find that curious. Perhaps this
is parallels the use of "passed away" instead of "dead" for people who are
no longer alive. Would "corpses", "cadavers", or "carcasses" have been
preferred in the title? I think not. Particularly for readers who have
English as a second language, "dead bodies" seems pretty direct.

As to whether it's worth putting a name to a distinctively new species,
isn't that rather the whole point of nomenclature? I defer to the opening
of the Code: "Article 1. Definition and scope. 1.1. Definition. Zoological
nomenclature is the system of scientific names applied to taxonomic units
(taxa; singular: taxon) of extant or extinct animals." All else is
hypothesis or added value — great when you've got it, but pure bonus on top
of the name.

Can description by text and photograph be abused? Of course. Can
description by text and designation of a holotype be abused? Of course —
and that happens all the time. Allowing legitimate definition of a species
by Code-defined publication is the comingled blessing and curse of
taxonomy. Permitting a photograph does not change that.

In a context where Code-defined publication constitutes legitimate
definition of a species, and a world where we're (quite likely) eliminating
species faster than we describing them, I'm delighted to see innovative
ways to recognize their existence.

-Dean
-- 
Dean Pentcheff
pentcheff at gmail.com

On Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 3:03 AM, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes, I agree with Alberto that the title was most unfortunate and not
> at all helpful. This should have been flagged during review rather
> than the nomenclatural consequences. Having said that, my other
> concern is, was it worth it? Was this species so important to be
> described now instead of when a "dead body" was acquired? As far as I
> can recall (Zookeys is currently not accessible at this time, strange)
> the specimens were found in separate areas in a country with an
> acceptable degree of environmental protection. Yes, it is distinctive,
> but other than that it feels more like a chance to have an argument (
> a "discussion" ) than a description. For what is worth, the only
> reasons you would allow descriptions such as these to be accepted is
> if they pertained to species with very small populations (vertebrates
> mostly) or if the only habitat where it is found has been utterly
> destroyed. And even if the latter scenario was the case, I cannot for
> the life of me see the point in describing a taxon whose only
> available information for all time is a picture. What can we learn
> from this new species? That it existed (maybe)?
>
> Best
>
> Jason
>
> On 7 October 2015 at 19:50, alberto ballerio <philharmostes at yahoo.it>
> wrote:
> > While the two authors highlight that they are pro-collecting, the title,
> in my opinion, is obviously biased against collecting (the use of "dead
> bodies" reveals some snobish attitude towards the "old fashioned" use of
> preserved specimens). I think that we must be careful when designing such
> titles, in order to transmit the right message, otherwise, while other
> taxonomist will probably understand the matter, bureaucrats will not and
> let's remember that the people in charge of granting collecting permits are
> the bureaucrats not the taxonomists! So, sooner or later (...I am afraid
> "sooner") our applications for obtaining collecting permits will be
> rejected because "we can take photos of the specimens we need".Best
> wishes,Alberto
> >       Da: Dan Lahr <dlahr at ib.usp.br>
> >  A: Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu>
> > Cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >  Inviato: Martedì 6 Ottobre 2015 18:58
> >  Oggetto: Re: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
> >
> > Thanks for the article, very interesting initiative -- though it seems to
> > me that this type of description has been code compliant for a while now.
> >
> > However, the "push" of the envelope potentially opens up a wide avenue
> for
> > increased code-compliance in protistan descriptions.  More often than
> not,
> > microphotographs are all we have, and in fact, are more useful than a
> > culture collection frozen somewhere that will be expensive to ship and
> most
> > likely face enormous bureaucratic challenges to be imported, if at all
> > possible.
> >
> > best,
> >
> > dan
> >
> > __________________________________
> > Daniel J. G. Lahr
> > PhD, Assist. Prof.
> > Dept of Zoology, Univ. of Sao Paulo, Brazil
> > Office number: + 55 (11) 3091 0948
> > http://www.ib.usp.br/zoologia/lahr/
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 6:52 PM, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:
> >
> >> This brand new publication is relevant to the discussion:
> >>
> >> http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=6143
> >>
> >> " A new bombyliid species /Marleyimyia xylocopae/ Marshall & Evenhuis,
> >> *sp. n.*, an apparent mimic of the carpenter bee /Xylocopa flavicollis/
> (De
> >> Geer), is described from South Africa on the basis of photographs only.
> The
> >> pros and cons of species descriptions in the absence of preserved type
> >> specimens are discussed."
> >>
> >> The envelope is being pushed. ;-)
> >>
> >> Peace,
> >>
> >> --
> >> Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology      Entomology Research Museum
> >> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314    skype: dyanega
> >> phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
> >>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
> >>  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> >>        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> >>
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> >>
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> >
> >>
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