[Taxacom] Retaining genus when its type species isn't diagnosable

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Tue Dec 6 19:44:37 CST 2016

Well, I teach the Code to students, and when discussing Best Practice, I 
would never use your idea that if you can get by with it, it is good 
enough.  Yes, you can do it that way and it will usually slide (although 
you are subject to those people who like to muck things up just for the 
fun of it), but that is not Best Practice.  Best Practice is to dot 
every 'I' and cross every 'T' so that stability is absolutely 
established.  Sloppy works, we have far too many examples that prove 
that, but is not the way to teach people Best Practice.

Strictly speaking, if there is confusion as to the identity of the 
species, that confusion and uncertainty extends throughout. If the 
dubious species is the type of a genus, you extend that uncertainty.  
You may say it is an acceptable level of uncertainty under a particular 
circumstance because you can get away with it, but it is not Best Practice.


On 12/6/2016 6:33 PM, Francisco Welter-Schultes wrote:
> We have no more detailed information on the case, but I understood 
> that there was no confusion that the type species fits within the 
> boundaries of that genus. Only the specific determination is doubtful.
> If so, then Doug is correct in saying, no confusion is present here, 
> and hence, no requirement for fixing a type under the Code.
> The confusion is certainly for the specific identity, but we do not 
> need to know the specific identity. Once again here, you don't need to 
> know the identity at species level, so you don't need to fix a type. 
> There is confusion, yes, but at this level the confusion does not 
> matter. There is confusion about many many many names, but as long as 
> this does not matter (because you don't need them) you don't need to 
> fix types for them.
> Francisco
> Am 07.12.2016 um 02:16 schrieb Michael A. Ivie:
>> Doug,
>> No type specimen for SPECIES? No problem if there is no confusion.  
>> Homo is the poster child for this. Therefore your statement "there 
>> are lots of species with no type specimen" is obviously OK, and the 
>> Code recognizes this in the restrictions on Neotype designation.
>> But, I also said "Unknown type species?"  This changes the equation.  
>> This question is specifically for a case where the identity of the 
>> type species IS in question, I assume because of lack of a type.  In 
>> this case, your examples do not apply under "Best Practice."
>> The many genera with no correctly designated type species are also 
>> not examples of Best Practice.  Yes,  they are out there, but it is 
>> not what you can call "correct."
>> You say "the Code does not *require* stabilization through 
>> typification unless there is confusion." This was never in question, 
>> we are talking about an example where there IS confusion, which is 
>> what "dubium" means.
>> Mike
>> On 12/6/2016 6:06 PM, Doug Yanega wrote:
>>> On 12/6/16 4:45 PM, Michael A. Ivie wrote:
>>>> No type? Unknown type species for a genus? No objective standard of 
>>>> reference for the application of the name it bears.  Period.
>>> Actually, there are lots of species with no type specimen, and many 
>>> genera with no type species (dubious or otherwise). Percentage-wise, 
>>> both occurrences are perhaps rare, but the absolute numbers are 
>>> significant. BEST PRACTICE is to follow the Code, and the Code does 
>>> not *require* stabilization through typification unless there is 
>>> confusion. This is at the core of a lot of ongoing controversy, but 
>>> I and perhaps most Commissioners seem to be okay with the "If it 
>>> ain't broke, don't fix it" approach here.
>>> If there is a genuine risk of a genus name being misapplied unless a 
>>> type species is fixed, then yes, do it. Otherwise, don't worry.
>>> Peace,
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Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

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