[Taxacom] A nomen nudum in Bombus

Roland Bergman-Sun kotatsu.no.leo at gmail.com
Wed Jun 2 07:08:27 CDT 2021


Stephen,

Yeah, you are often conveniently misunderstood, I've noticed.

You're of course welcome to discuss whatever you want, but I will
continue staying here by the original goalposts, i.e. Bombus
incognitus. This has been asserted to be a nomen nudum, regardless of
if there are other kinds of unavailable names.

In this case, no published scientific data is attached to this name,
as the manuscript the name occurs in is still in pre-print. Even when
it is eventually published, there is only limited data associated with
this name. In fact, given that this is still a preprint, it may even
be possible to alert the authors and/or editors that this name is not
formally available before the final version is actually published.
This case is thus not in any way comparable to cases where a name that
has already been used by generations of researchers is subsequently
found to be a nomen nudum, and the parts of your argument that switch
to discussing entirely different situations are thus irrelevant.

In this case, your solution (1) is acceptable, whereas solution (2)
perpetuates the laziness that made the name unavailable in the first
place.
- The potential harm of (2) includes exactly what I outlined before:
someone else is at liberty to actually name the species, and are under
no obligation to use the name "incognitus". If they do, then future
data is definitely disassociated from published data for those who are
not aware of the earlier, unavailable, name. Whether this harm is
substantial or meaningful is beyond my expertise, as I don't work with
bumblebees, and don't know if this manuscript is the first in an
avalanche of manuscripts discussing, but not describing, B.
incognitus. But there are certainly unscrupulous people out there
(even in here, I believe) who gleefully ride on the coattails of
unwary researchers and rush to publish new names based on the research
of others.
- The potential harm of (1) is limited to the potentially damaged ego
of the original authors, if they are particularly wedded to the name
"incognitus".

In this case, the best route forward may be the one you didn't
propose: someone from whom this is important contact the authors
and/or editors and explain the situation to them, giving them the
opportunity to amend their manuscript so that the name is formally
available, before it leaves the pre-print stage.

Cheers,

On Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 5:16 PM Stephen Thorpe
<stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
>
> Roland,
> I'm not sure what that rant was about, but maybe I haven't made myself clear? For a start, let's not use the term "nomen nudum", because it really refers to just a particular kind of unavailable name (one without a description), which is not what we are really talking about. We are really talking about unavailable names in general, for whatever reason. It might be because of something so trivial as the omission of a specification of a type depository, or an e-only publication with no archive specified in the ZooBank preregistration, or whatever. So, I'm talking about a situation in which a new species is described, but the new name fails to be available for some reason. So what? Are we to (1) pretend that the species was never described, never utter its name and ignore all the biological/ecological data that may be associated with it; or (2) use the name as if it were the valid name for the species and leave it to someone down the track to validate the name? It's a no-brainer mate! (2) is the only sensible option and, furthermore, it is what actually happens in many cases where minor Code non-compliance hasn't even been noticed yet. There is no harm in continuing to use an unavailable name as if it were valid, until such time as it is either (i) validated, or (ii) another available name is created for the taxon. In the interests of nomenclatural stability, (i) is preferable. To be clear, I am not discouraging anyone from quickly validating the name, if they so wish. That's fine, but in reality it doesn't actually make much difference, except in rare cases of new species of broad interest and/or high significance. In those cases, the ICZN should be petitioned, if necessary, to conserve the name that was initially unavailable, if it gains wide usage while unavailable but someone creates a new and different name which has priority (since unavailable names have no priority).
> There is nothing in what I have said above which should be remotely controversial. If you think it is, then you possibly just don't understand what I'm saying.
> Cheers,
> Stephen
>
> On Wednesday, 2 June 2021, 06:25:07 pm NZST, Roland Bergman-Sun via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>
> I'm sure that in REALITY -- which I remember with fondness mixed with
> disillusion -- there is no chance whatsoever that using a name that is
> known to be a nomen nudum as if there are no problems at all will
> never lead to someone else naming the species something else. In
> REALITY, this will never mean that the scientific data is therefore
> tied to two different names, the synonymy of which will be understood
> and discussed only by the small fraction of bumblebee researchers that
> are taxonomists or taxonomy-adjacent. I am sure that the next step
> will never be confusion, when some groups use one name and others use
> the other name, and thus talk past each other, and I am sure this
> confusion would never lead to something as absurd as this being used
> as another example of how taxonomists are just ruining things, and
> that conservationists NEED to step in to sort things out because it
> can't go on like this any more. I'm sure there is no risk of something
> like this in REALITY. I mean, who has ever heard of a case of
> taxonomic confusion because different research groups use different
> names for the same taxon leading to problems downstream in
> non-taxonomic research? I think if we did a raise-of-hands here, no
> one would ever have heard of something so bizarre in REALITY; this
> must just be a perverse construct of my mind, just to spite you. In
> REALITY, every researcher is perfectly cognizant of the code and what
> it means, and leap head-first at the chance of getting the opportunity
> to use a new name for the species they thought they had studied and
> published on for ten years. Ecologist and conservationist friends of
> mine just love this sort of thing; they are constantly asking me if
> the species they are working on could be renamed, because it's more
> convenient to use a new name than to have to google scholar research
> on the old name and have to actually sit down and read what others
> have done. Better to start with a blank slate and save time. It's not
> like species names are associated with something scientifically
> meaningful anyway; taxonomy is just a way to keep pedants and
> busybodies and grumpy old farts away from real research where they
> could actually do some harm.
>
> Cheers,
> Unreality
>
> On Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 10:16 AM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom
> <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> >
> >  Well, that's about what I would expect from you Doug - a completely irrational opinion! Names like Bombus incognitus carry with them useful scientific data, derived from the publication in which they were technically an unavailable name. So, your view, if I understand it, would prevent anyone using the name Bombus incognitus, except perhaps by way of a note that this name has been used in publications, but is technically unavailable. My view, rather, is that we can just use the name, in the usual way, until such time as it gets validated. This is what happens in reality - does anyone remember reality? - for names which are unavailable for more subtle reasons, which nobody may even notice until well down the track. I'm not trying to undermine the ICZN at all, I'm just trying to reconcile it with the reality of what scientists do, and minimise disruption caused by pointless little technicalities of the Code.Cheers, Stephen
> >    On Wednesday, 2 June 2021, 11:48:38 am NZST, Douglas Yanega via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> >
> >  On 6/1/21 2:56 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> > > For unavailable names like Bombus incognitus, for example, I recommend
> > > the following:
> > > Assuming that they refer to a good species without any other name
> > > available, use the unavailable name as if it were the valid name for
> > > the taxon, until such time as someone validates the name
> > > nomenclaturally. Any such validation should use the original name,
> > > i.e. Bombus incognitus, rather than disruptively coin a different
> > > name. Of course, if the species is inadvertently named again as new,
> > > witha different name, then Bombus incognitus will be superseded by the
> > > new name, except if the name Bombus incognitus has already gained wide
> > > usage, in which case an application for conservation of the name would
> > > be appropriate. It must be remembered that many names in current usage
> > > are unavailable for somewhat less obvious reasons than Bombus
> > > incognitus, e.g. lack of specified type depository, etc. It is far
> > > more sensible just to continue using them as if they were valid, until
> > > such time as any nomenclatural problems can be resolved (and there is
> > > really no hurry or necessity)
> > >
> > I disagree with essentially everything you have suggested above, and
> > strongly suggest that others here learn from you exactly what NOT to do.
> > It's like you are actively seeking to undermine the principles of the
> > ICZN, by making proposals that go directly against what the Code
> > specifically tells people they should do.
> >
> > Give it a rest, please,
> >
> > --
> > 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)
> >              https://faculty.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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