[Taxacom] Taxonomic question

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Fri Mar 20 07:51:24 CDT 2020


Mention of size has been considered enough to validate a taxon; Oliva
sayana Ravenel, 1834 has an allusion but not clear citation of a previous
publication and mention that it can exceed 3 inches.  Of course, such brief
descriptions are likely to be nomina dubia; in this case the size is
distinctive.

As an example of the problematic nature of "intent", later authors have
used a name for a fossil lymnaeid that originally was apparently a demotion
of a genus to a species name - the author using the name that way thought
he had the same species as the namer of the genus.

On Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 10:01 PM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

>  A similar example would be a measurement (even for specimens which are
> not fossils). Something like:
> Aus bus n.sp. (holotype: 20mm in length)
> This could be intended as diagnostic, i.e. what separates this species
> from others in the genus is its size.
> But it could alternatively be intended merely as a description of the
> specimen, with no intention to imply that size is significant
> diagnostically/taxonomically.
> Stephen
>     On Friday, 20 March 2020, 01:48:09 am UTC, Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>   It is unclear if my point has been taken that, for fossils, an
> accompanying description may only be a description of what body parts are
> preserved in the fossil, which is not intended to be a description of the
> taxon in any way. For example, one might say "3 legs, head and wings", but
> this would surely not confer availability on the name??
> Stephen
>     On Friday, 20 March 2020, 01:25:25 am UTC, Francisco Welter-Schultes
> via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>  I agree with Thomas in this point, this is based on Art. 13.1.1, however
> the distinction between descriptions before and after 1930 is under debate.
> Before 1931 there is no element of intent in there. A distinctive
> description can either be present or absent.
>
> If the describer mentioned some characters in the original source and
> did clearly not know that another author had described another taxon
> before with the same characters, then I would agree with Stephen, that
> in such a case the intention is to be acknowledged. If we talk of a
> disctinctive description, then this term "disctinctive" must be
> evaluated from the point of view of the describer.
>
> The cited source showed that the intention in that case was to describe
> only a specimen, and we could argue, not a taxon as such. I think this
> kind of intention must be ignored or set aside.
> In the present case only a specimen was described, but the name referred
> implicitly to the corresponding taxon. This is always so. Taxonomists
> describe specimens and give names for the corresponding taxa. If you
> only have one specimen, your description can only refer to this one. If
> your specimen displays a coriaceous integument in contrast to all other
> hitherto known Lycosa-like taxa (I have no idea what a coriaceous
> integument is... I just take this as an example to illustrate the
> thought), then you can establish a new name for all likewise fossil
> animals that display this character.
> If a coriaceous integument is something that all spiders have, then it
> is not a distinctive character.
>
> -----
> Francisco
>
> Am 20.03.2020 um 01:41 schrieb Thomas Pape via Taxacom:
> > Actually, any description will be Code-compliant for these old names:
> >
> > "To be available, every new name published before 1931 must [...] be
> accompanied by a description or a definition of the taxon that it denotes,
> or by an indication."
> >
> > The requirement for intent (or actually "purport"), is for names
> proposed after 1930.
> >
> > /Thomas
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> On Behalf Of Stephen
> Thorpe via Taxacom
> > Sent: 20. marts 2020 01:33
> > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; Francisco Welter-Schultes <
> fwelter at gwdg.de>
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Taxonomic question
> >
> >  I would disagree very slightly with both Doug and Francisco in that I
> would say that it is the *intention* to denote a taxon which is the proper
> criterion, or else many old descriptions would be rendered unavailable for
> many important taxa! However, with a fossil, one might have to distinguish
> a taxonomic description from a mere description of which parts of the
> organism are preserved?
> > Stephen
> >      On Friday, 20 March 2020, 12:28:01 am UTC, Francisco
> Welter-Schultes via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> >
> >  1865 p. 468 should be this one:
> >
> https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.biodiversitylibrary.org%2Fitem%2F96107%23page%2F508%2Fmode%2F1up&data=02%7C01%7Ctpape%40snm.ku.dk%7Cd439bae8e36e45ca923d08d7cc665862%7Ca3927f91cda14696af898c9f1ceffa91%7C0%7C0%7C637202612250462432&sdata=w3TwB%2FONSS3y6XHtZoNCoQaA%2FXWB6wBxdXX%2BJEDSdg0%3D&reserved=0
> >
> > in addition to Doug's cited characters:
> >
> > "the coriaceous integument of the body, and the hairs attached to the
> feet"
> > and
> > "resemblance to the recent genus Lycosa"
> >
> > I would not employ the term "sad", for it lacks a neutral approach to
> the situation. Either this description denoted the taxon at the time when
> this was published, or not. Arachnological expertise is necessary to judge
> this. If it did not denote the taxon, i.e. if the description did clearly
> not allow to distinguish the taxon from others known at the time, then the
> next available source must be consulted.
> >
> > -----
> > Francisco
> >
> > Am 20.03.2020 um 01:03 schrieb Doug Yanega via Taxacom:
> >> I found "On a fossil spider from the coal-measures of Upper Silesia".
> >>
> >> If this is treated as acceptable, it is very sad indeed that "four
> >> pairs of feet with all their segments and the two palpi" qualifies as
> >> a Code-compliant description.
> >>
> >> Sigh.
> >>
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-- 
Dr. David Campbell
Associate Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Box 7270
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017


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