[Taxacom] A nomen nudum in Bombus

Roland Bergman-Sun kotatsu.no.leo at gmail.com
Thu Jun 3 22:54:41 CDT 2021


There is no continuum between "0 scientific data has been published
attached to an unpublished name" and "at least 1 piece of scientific
data has been published attached to a published name later found to be
unavailable". There is a difference between names that have been
published (available or not) and names that are so far not published.

When it comes to names that are already published, and which are later
discovered to be unavailable, I largely agree with you. But the case
we're discussing is not one of those cases. It is a case of "we are
going to intentionally publish a nomen nudum, attach a lot of data to
this nomen nudum, and hope someone else will make the name available
in the future", not a case of "hey guys, this name we've been using
since 1832 is actually unavailable due to a technicality, but since we
all know what species we're talking about, let's just continue as
normal and hope it's not a cryptic species complex, but someone should
really have a look at it at some point".

It is at best disingenuous to pretend that these cases are the same.

Otherwise, I could easily generate a couple of thousand genus-level
names, stick them in a preprint archive (thus making them visible to
others) and then demand that my colleagues should behave as if they
are available in case someone makes them available in the future. The
synonymy lists would be formidable.

Cheers,


On Fri, Jun 4, 2021 at 10:51 AM Stephen Thorpe
<stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
>
> Somewhere between being unavailable as a preprint, and being found to be unavailable decades down the track, is a continuum!
> Stephen
>
> On Friday, 4 June 2021, 12:01:01 pm NZST, Roland Bergman-Sun via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>
> There is a difference that you don't seem to comprehend between:
>
> 1) finding out after many decades that a commonly used name was unavailable
> all along (and still is), and has to be made available to make sure that
> the scientific data already attached to the name remains easy to locate
> with a minimum of disruption; and
> 2) finding out that a name is a nomen nudum *before the manuscript it first
> appears in is even published* and despite this continuing to attach
> scientific data to the name, knowing that this name may very well change in
> the future.
>
> The two cases are not comparable, and the only flawed argument here is your
> continued assertion that they are.
>
> Cheers,
>
> On Fri, Jun 4, 2021 at 4:16 AM Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> wrote:
>
> > Scott,
> > You have simply repeated the same flawed argument as others have already
> > done in this thread. Yes, there could be a name change if a later author
> > coins a new name for the species, but it is no more or less a problem than
> > any other name change (and many of the latter are arguably unnecessary
> > anyway, just subjective splitting, fueled by the mihi itch!)
> > Cheers, Stephen
> >
> > On Friday, 4 June 2021, 06:49:58 am NZST, Scott Thomson <
> > scott.thomson321 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Several problems with this beyond taxonomy and nomenclature. Here as
> > taxonomists we are specialists we tend to be aware of issue names at least
> > within the scope of our specialty groups of taxa. General scientists, the
> > end users of the nomenclatures we put forward are not.
> >
> > Assuming the name starts getting used and finds its way into the general
> > lit, for all appearances it has stability. It's been sitting there
> > technically a nomen nudem for years because no one fixed it. Someone
> > finally decides to fix the issue, they have choices. The name is nomen
> > nudem and hence is unavailable which means it does not really exist. They
> > can use the unavailable name adding the necessary information to repair it.
> > Its now of course their name not the original authors, although thats of
> > lesser importance. They could also replace the name with their own for
> > whatever reason. A taxon with what people thought was a stable name now has
> > a new name. Not a good look, taxonomists will be accused of messing with
> > the stable nomenclature for the sake of nomenclature. I think its better to
> > ignore a name that is unavailable, then it never gets traction. If the
> > authors or someone else fixes it in the future it can be used at that point.
> >
> > In the Global Lists Governance I do not believe any of us could take the
> > risk with an unavailable name on the chance it will be repaired in the
> > future. The Global Lists are aiming at stability for all users of
> > nomenclature, not just taxonomists. Accepting usage of unavailable names is
> > not stable.
> >
> > I understand your points Stephen, and how you have restricted this, but it
> > seems unworkable in the big picture.
> >
> > Cheers Scott
> >
> >
> > <http://www.avg.com/email-signature?utm_medium=email&utm_source=link&utm_campaign=sig-email&utm_content=webmail> Virus-free.
> > www.avg.com
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> > <#m_2706591999210744678_DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>
> >
> > On Thu, Jun 3, 2021 at 5:58 AM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
> > taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> >
> >  Well, it has no greater downsides than for any name change
> >    On Thursday, 3 June 2021, 08:23:45 pm NZST, Roland Bergman-Sun via
> > Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> >
> >  Translation:
> > Attaching scientific information to unavailable names that may be
> > changed at any time has no conceivable downsides, so it's all fine.
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > On Thu, Jun 3, 2021 at 4:12 PM Stephen Thorpe
> > <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
> > >
> > > Andrew,
> > > I respectfully disagree. Code compliance is preferable but not vital.
> > There is bad science on both sides, i.e. code compliant and code
> > non-compliant, and good science on both sides. If a name can be
> > unambiguously linked to a species, then we should use it, even if it is an
> > unavailable name on a technicality.
> > > I kind of get it that you are overplaying the problems associated with
> > Code noncompliance so as to discourage people from sloppy nomenclature, but
> > that doesn't change the fact that there are no serious problems associated
> > with using an unavailable name as if it were valid.
> > > Cheers, Stephen
> > >
> > > On Thursday, 3 June 2021, 07:58:30 pm NZST, Andrew Whittington <
> > awhittington at flyevidence.co.uk> wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Stephen,
> > >
> > > just doesn't really matter if it ends up taking a while
> > >
> > > Well, actually, it does matter. Maybe not to you - but then you are
> > consistently not listening to the numerous members of this forum that have
> > explained why.
> > >
> > > The name is currently not code compliant and there is time to fix it
> > before publication. Not doing so does not mean the name should be used
> > until sometime in the future if/when it gets fixed. It means it should not
> > be used and is unacceptable.
> > >
> > > If we follow your method, then the future will be littered with names
> > that are not code compliant because authors feel that they can "get away
> > with it" given that some taxonomist in the future will come along and
> > remedy the bad science that has been propagated through non-code
> > compliance. It suggests that the code "doesn't really matter".
> > >
> > > If authors wish to promote new names, then the actions leading to the
> > use of those names need to be code compliant, otherwise we may as well tear
> > the code up right now.
> > >
> > > Kind regards,
> > > Andrew
> > >
> > > ====o0o====
> > > Andrew E Whittington
> > > Consultant Entomologist, PhD, FRES MCSFS
> > > Zootaxa Editor: Diptera & small orders of insects
> > > ZooNova Entomology Editor
> > > https://flyevidence.co.uk/
> > > ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0465-1172
> > > https://www.linkedin.com/company/flyevidence/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ________________________________
> > > From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of Stephen
> > Thorpe via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> > > Sent: 03 June 2021 04:19
> > > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>; Roland
> > Bergman-Sun <kotatsu.no.leo at gmail.com>
> > > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] A nomen nudum in Bombus
> > >
> > > Roland,I don't disagree, except that if it does take a while to get
> > fixed, then that shouldn't stop us from using the name as if it were valid
> > (and by that I recommend flagging it as unavailable, while still using it).
> > The difference between an available name and an unavailable name makes
> > little or no difference in practice. So, by all means encourage people to
> > fix the problem in timely fashion, but it just doesn't really matter if it
> > ends up taking a while to get fixed.Cheers, Stephen
> > >    On Thursday, 3 June 2021, 02:19:59 pm NZST, Roland Bergman-Sun via
> > Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > >  Recommending people to treat unavailable names as if they were
> > > available *is* encouraging bad taxonomic practice.
> > > Asserting that this is okay because someone might make the name
> > > available in the future is encouraging people to attach further
> > > scientific data to a name that may not be used in the future.
> > > If attaching scientific data to a name that may not be used in the
> > > future is a problem, then encouraging people to do so is bad taxonomic
> > > practice.
> > >
> > > My suggestion was and remains:
> > > If the existence of this nomen nudum is a (potential) problem for
> > > researchers in the field, there may still be time to alert the
> > > authors/editors and have them amend the manuscript to make the name
> > > available, since it is still only a preprint.
> > > To which can be added:
> > > If the preprint cannot be further modified for some reason, and the
> > > existence of this nomen nudum is a (potential) problem in the field,
> > > then the authors should be encouraged to make the name available as
> > > soon as possible, before attaching further scientific data to a name
> > > that may be replaced in the future.
> > >
> > > Cheers,
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, Jun 3, 2021 at 4:45 AM Stephen Thorpe
> > > <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Roland,
> > > > You are still not making much sense. As I already stated, I am not
> > trying to discourage the fixing of the problem. I am not trying to
> > encourage bad nomenclatural practice either. I am simply trying to point
> > out that an unavailable name can be validated at any stage, so there is no
> > reason not to keep using it for the species. The worst case scenario is
> > that someone renames it with another name, but that is no worse than any
> > name change and will be even more likely to happen if we ignore the current
> > name as you seem to be suggesting. Names function as names, whether or not
> > they are Code compliant. There used to be an arcane myth in taxonomy that a
> > nomen nudum means that name can never be used. Perhaps this myth is still
> > around?
> > > > Cheers, Stephen
> > >
> > > On Thu, Jun 3, 2021 at 4:13 AM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom
> > > <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> > > >
> > > >  John,Like just about everyone else on this list, you too haven't read
> > what I wrote properly! I was explicitly talking only about cases in which
> > the name does unambiguously apply to a species, by way of a good taxonomic
> > description which fails on a mere nomenclatural technicality. You are
> > mixing this up with a different problem.Cheers,Stephen
> > > >    On Thursday, 3 June 2021, 03:56:06 am NZST, John Grehan <
> > calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > >
> > > >  As one who has no learned expertise whatsoever on nomenclature, I do
> > find it problematic to 'recognise' or use nomen nudum names. I had this
> > occur in my group (ghost moths) where a Chinese author wrote on the biology
> > of a species using a name without the required designations (designated
> > type specimen and description). So there is no way to know what they were
> > referring to. Obviously it might be a 'real' and new species, but no way to
> > know, and so I see no value in this case continuing to "use an unavailable
> > name as if it were valid". I get the impression that people are free to
> > choose to ignore some or all of the code. Whether such choices are
> > preferable or not is in the eyes of the beholder.
> > > > John Grehan
> > > > On Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 5:14 AM Andrew Whittington via Taxacom <
> > taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > I'm with Doug on this one Stephen,
> > > >
> > > > Of course nobody can prevent use of the name after it has been
> > proposed - but you entirely miss the point that the name should not have
> > been published without proper adherence to the ICZN protocols in the first
> > place.
> > > >
> > > > These are not pointless technicalities of the code, but rather lack of
> > adherence to a set of agreed principles that have been developed by the
> > scientific community to serve a very clear purpose. What scientist do and
> > what they should do are clearly two different things and we should be
> > encouraging adherence to the protocols, not dodging around them for
> > convenience.
> > > >
> > > > Kind regards,
> > > > Andrew
> > > >
> > > > ====o0o====
> > > > Andrew E Whittington
> > > > Consultant Entomologist, PhD, FRES MCSFS
> > > > Zootaxa Editor: Diptera & small orders of insects
> > > > ZooNova Entomology Editor
> > > > https://flyevidence.co.uk/
> > > > ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0465-1172
> > > > https://www.linkedin.com/company/flyevidence/<
> > https://www.linkedin.com/company/flyevidence/?viewAsMember=true>
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > ________________________________
> > > > From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of
> > Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> > > > Sent: 02 June 2021 03:16
> > > > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>; Douglas
> > Yanega <dyanega at gmail.com>
> > > > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] A nomen nudum in Bombus
> > > >
> > > > 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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> >
> >
> > --
> > Scott Thomson
> >
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