[Taxacom] ICZN - gender of genus-group name ending in -oops

Scott Thomson scott.thomson321 at gmail.com
Sat May 21 12:43:49 CDT 2016

Hi David,

"You say that changing this name is undesirable because some
national laws might needed to be changed."

Not quite, though it would be better if they were changed a little for
other reasons. In some countries to add an animal to special protection
requires an act of parliament. It would be desirable if these laws
recognised accepted synonyms but they do not.

"It simply cannot happen (or it only can happen only in a negligibly
small number of very special cases, when the gender of *A-us* was
recognized wrongly by the whole community until now). The only case where
gender agreement can cause change in the ending of the epithet is when the
species is transferred to another genus, and the combination *C-a* [fem.]
*b-a* will be the valid name; but in these cases the binomen changes

I was referring to the small number of special cases. I said when the
taxonomic hypothesis changes then change everything because as you say the
binomen is changing anyway.

"eliminating gender agreement because it is
one of the millions of reasons is nonsense."

I never said to eliminate it, not once, I said we should be able to follow
prevailing usage in those rare cases. I do not buy the whole anarchy by
small steps argument, ie if we let go of this we open the gates to worse.
Quite frankly that same argument is used in politics and religion also, it
does not wash there either. It is used in politics by those in an
indefensible position. My point is really that since there are many users
of nomenclature, not all of them are zoologists (ie managers) and not all
are trying to use it positively (ie lawyers for developers) that
compromising a little would be useful, this very issue is one of the things
that managers, conservationists etc look on taxonomy badly for.

Everything you say about names and linguistics I happen to agree with. Many
are starting to use local languages for new species these days, just using
the Latin alphabet. I have done that myself having named two species in
Couri. For example nadibajagu is Couri it is formed from two words nadi +
bajagu which is a phrase meaning from a long time ago, ie ancient one. It
uses the Latin alphabet but no Latin or Greek words. It also has no gender
of course since it is based on the linguistics of the language from which
it was taken.

Yes I agree zoologists should learn the basics, as you say, understand word
formation etc, not all users are zoologists though.

Cheers Scott

On Sat, May 21, 2016 at 1:17 PM, Fred Schueler <bckcdb at istar.ca> wrote:

> On 5/21/2016 11:03 AM, David Redei wrote:
>>> Changing names even the spelling has legal
>> ramifications for some species under the Governments of some countries. It
>>> depends on how they do their endangered species legislation. Changing the
>>> name of a species that is scheduled on an endangered species Act in some
>>> countries requires an Act of Parliament for it to continue being afforded
>>> full legal protection.
> Sorry, I cannot follow this. Let's suppose there is A-us b-us, a protected
>> species. You say that changing this name is undesirable because some
>> national laws might needed to be changed.
> * does this mean legislators and courts are too stupid to understand
> synonymy? In Canada there have been a number of provisions enacted that
> before passage legislation must take into consideration various classes of
> considerations, such as fiscal, well-being, and carbon balance, so maybe we
> need to agitate for including nomenclature among these - "this act protects
> the species in schedule A, whether known by the name listed, or by any
> synonymous name."
> I'm told there was a case in the 1970s when a defense lawyer successfully
> argued that his client was smoking Cannabis ruderalis rather then C.
> sativa, which provoked Agriculture Canada into a big common garden study of
> variation in Cannabis.
> fred.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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Scott Thomson
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Divisão de Vertebrados (Herpetologia)
Avenida Nazaré, 481, Ipiranga
04263-000, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
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