[Taxacom] manuscript name question

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat Oct 10 17:50:55 CDT 2015

Hang on a minute Rich. Please re-read what you wrote! If you are going to count "still alive" as an option for "extant specimen", then Steve & Neal's fly might well have been still alive when they published the description, in which case the name would be unavailable due to the lack of a statement of holotype deposition for what you've just said is an "extant specimen"! Of course, it might be impossible to prove/disprove that it was still alive at that time, but all I'm saying is that there could be an unlucky and unlikely sequence of events which could invalidate the name (e.g. someone captured it after photography and kept it alive in a jar at home, photographing it each day with a time stamp!). It is a risk, albeit a negligibly small one. I'm not arguing against what Steve and Neal did, I'm just trying to figure out where any weak points are, and how weak they are. What I have described is the only weak point, as far as I can see, so I don't think it
 likely that the fly description will prove to be problematic at all. So, it is all good.


On Sun, 11/10/15, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

 Subject: RE: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
 To: "'Stephen Thorpe'" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, gread at actrix.gen.nz, Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Cc: neale at bishopmuseum.org
 Received: Sunday, 11 October, 2015, 11:12 AM
 Hi Stephen,
 I disagree. Art. 16.4.2. says that species-group names
 published after 1999
 must have an explicit fixation of the name-bearing type(s),
 that includes a
 statement of the name and location of the collection where
 the type(s) will
 be deposited "where the holotype or syntypes are extant
 specimens".  The
 Code Glossary defines "extant" in the context of specimens
 as "still in
 existence", which I think most of us interpret as meaning
 some physical
 manifestation of an organism that is substantially more
 cohesive than
 dissociated molecules.  That is, a specimen that is
 either still alive, or
 collected and preserved in a museum, or otherwise still
 somehow intact (as
 opposed to an organism that has long-since
 disintegrated).  While it's
 technically true that the organism depicted in the
 illustration that was
 designated as the name-bearing type might have somehow
 escaped decay (still
 alive, collected and preserved, embalmed in amber,
 whatever...), if you hold
 the "technicality bar" of the Code to this high of a
 standard, then almost
 EVERY Article breaks down into ambiguity (i.e., now we're
 talking in the
 realm of how nothing in the universe is ultimately
 So, while it's fun to argue that a the organism depicted in
 the illustration
 might have been collected and preserved unbeknownst to the
 authors, or that
 it happened to be engulfed in amber when it died, or that a
 stiff wind blew
 it up to the north pole where it became frozen in a block of
 ice (etc.),
 such arguments don't really help us in this discussion,
 because they fall
 way outside the reasonable scope of probability.
 A much bigger problem (MUCH bigger problem!) with Code
 compliance is that
 people simply fail to indicate the name and location of the
 collection where
 the holotype/syntypes is/are intended to be deposited, even
 when it's clear
 that the specimens were collected and preserved and are
 almost certainly
 known to be "extant" by the authors.  It's often clear
 in the publication
 itself that a specimen was in-hand, and preserved, and is
 almost certainly
 still extant, but through oversight/unawareness of the
 requirements, the
 name and location of the intended collection are not
 included within the
 Rather than fret about this (so-far) non-problem of
 descriptions based on
 "non-extant" specimens, we should instead focus our
 collective energies
 towards: 1) making more taxonomists and would-be taxonomists
 aware of the
 requirements of the Code; and 2) discussing ways in which
 the NEXT edition
 of the Code will make it less confusing to establish new
 names in
 compliance, so taxonomists can focus more of their time
 doing taxonomy,
 instead of nomenclature.
 > -----Original Message-----
 > From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
 > Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 10:59 AM
 > To: gread at actrix.gen.nz;
 Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu;
 > deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
 > Cc: neale at bishopmuseum.org
 > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
 > Actually Rich, the nomenclatural weak point of what
 Steve & Neal have done
 > with this fly is to interpret the Code in such a way
 that the holotype
 isn't an
 > "extant specimen". That could be disputed, based on the
 EXACT possible
 > meanings of those words, but even if we grant them
 their preferred
 > interpretation, consider this: they don't really know
 the fate of that
 > fly after it was photographed. Maybe someone collected
 it! Maybe it has
 > been accessioned into a museum collection. If the
 accession date can be
 > shown to be before the publication date of the
 description, then "we have
 > problem Houston!" That would mean that it was an extant
 specimen at the
 > time the description was published, so Steve and Neal
 needed to make a
 > statement of deposition of the holotype in order for
 the new name to be
 > available! An unlikely, but possible scenario!
 > Cheers, Stephen
 > --------------------------------------------
 > On Sun, 11/10/15, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
 >  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
 >  To: gread at actrix.gen.nz,
 Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >  Received: Sunday, 11 October, 2015, 6:22 AM
 >  OK, as the originator of the
 >  "unambiguous" quote, I feel compelled to reply. 
 Let me  rephrase my
 > original comment as:
 >  "The description of M. xylocopae is about a
 unambiguously  compliant with
 > the Code as any description of a new taxon  can
 >  Nothing in the Code is absolutely unambiguous ...
 in the  sense that
 > in the universe is absolutely  unambiguous.
 >  I read Markus Moser's letter, and as impassioned
 as the  argument is, it
 > contrary to what is actually written in  the
 Code.  The way the Code is
 > written, sub-articles  inherit the context of
 their parent articles.  The
 > article for Art. 73.1.4 is Art. 73.1, which reads:
 >  "Holotypes. A holotype is the single specimen
 upon which a  new nominal
 > species-group taxon is based in the original 
 publication".   The phrase
 "in the
 > original  publication" is about as unambiguous as
 the Code gets.  If the
 > provisions of Art 73.1.4 were intended to apply
 to  subsequent type
 > designations, it would have been in a  section
 dealing with Neotypes and
 > Lectotypes; not  Holotypes.
 >  So ... use of 73.1.4 in the description of  M.
 >  xylocopae is in no way a distortion of the intent
 of the  Article.
 >  Whether or not this article is "relevant" to this
 species  (per Stephen's
 > comment) is open to debate, but I do see his 
 point.  However, I still
 think it is
 > relevant; although  Art. 72.5.6 is probably more
 directly relevant.
 >  Aloha,
 >  Rich
 >  > -----Original Message-----
 >  > From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
 >  On Behalf
 >  > Of Geoff Read
 >  > Sent: Friday, October 09, 2015 5:55 PM 
 > To:
 > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
 > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] manuscript name
 > question  >  >  > Hi, 
 >  > Although there is clearly a group who
 > the  fly photo description  > "was
 unambiguously Code-compliant" under the
 > current  code, this is not  > correct.
 >  >
 >  > Read again Markus Moser's eletter "Holotypic
 ink" in  Science from 2005
 > > response to a comment and response about the
 Mangabey  monkey
 > picture,  > under the doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.309.5744.2163c
 >  >
 >  >
 > http://www.sciencemag.org/content/309/5744/2163.3/reply#sci_el_2652?s
 >  > id=deb7fe6e-5527-45a6-b6f7-af1120d2750c
 >  >
 >  > Use of 73.1.4 for new taxa is a distortion
 of the  article's intention
 > "...
 >  > clearly refers to established species of
 which the  types got lost
 > or  > are missing"
 >  >
 >  > --
 >  > Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
 >  > Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
 >  > gread at actrix.gen.nz
 >  >
 >  >
 >  > Taxacom Mailing List
 >  > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >  > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >  > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at:
 >  > http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >  >
 >  > Celebrating 28 years of Taxacom in 2015.
 >  _______________________________________________
 >  Taxacom Mailing List
 >  Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.eduhttp://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >  The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched
 > http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >  Celebrating 28 years of Taxacom in 2015.

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