atom feed145 messages in edu.ku.nhm.mailman.taxacomRe: [Taxacom] Does the species name h...
FromSent OnAttachments
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 11:18 am 
Quicke, Donald L JJun 18, 2012 11:45 am 
Frederick W. SchuelerJun 18, 2012 11:57 am 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 12:51 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 12:51 pm 
Karen CranstonJun 18, 2012 1:09 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 1:25 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 1:35 pm 
Chris ThompsonJun 18, 2012 2:28 pm 
Roger BurksJun 18, 2012 2:30 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 2:42 pm 
Doug YanegaJun 18, 2012 2:55 pm 
Vladimir GusarovJun 18, 2012 2:57 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:02 pm 
Neal EvenhuisJun 18, 2012 3:11 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 3:14 pm 
David CampbellJun 18, 2012 3:17 pm 
Doug YanegaJun 18, 2012 3:23 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:34 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 3:48 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:51 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:58 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 3:58 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:07 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:20 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:52 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:53 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:56 pm 
Bob MesibovJun 18, 2012 5:04 pm 
Chris ThompsonJun 18, 2012 5:32 pm 
James K AdamsJun 18, 2012 6:58 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 7:01 pm 
brpa...@dwu.eduJun 18, 2012 7:02 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 7:07 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 7:09 pm 
110 later messages
Subject:Re: [Taxacom] Does the species name have to change when it moves genus?
From:Roger Burks (burk@gmail.com)
Date:Jun 18, 2012 2:30:55 pm
List:edu.ku.nhm.mailman.taxacom

The answers are: inertia and controversy.

My understanding of the past was that at one time, the genus and species name were considered to be non-arbitrary in their informative value. Some early workers apparently attributed huge significance to the genus.

When I first started in this field, I asked these same questions. The responses generally consisted of fierce opposition to the idea that such questions should be asked at all, much less seriously debated. Some ideas that had been fiercely resisted at that time are now widely implemented (such as a permanent naming system that stands beside the current nomenclature).

The problem with freezing species name combinations has been due mainly to some power struggles between the camps who favor original combinations over "widely used" combinations. New combinations are recognized once published, but they are really just proposals where current usage is concerned.They are not considered law, as far as the scope of this conversation is concerned. No authority exists to really say what combination is actually "approved"--at least this is what I was taught at that time (which was a time with more resistance to change than what we see today).

Going back to original combinations would be more nearly objective, but would cause more short-term instability and annoyance than any other option. Trying to choose an approved current combination, I was told at least, would require a solid stand on what combination should exist as "valid" despite differing taxonomic opinions. I thought this problem could be overcome, but all my peers at the time disagreed.

Roger

On Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM, Roderic Page <r.p@bio.gla.ac.uk> wrote:

OK, I know this is what we do, but my question is "why do we do this?"

As names change over time it becomes a major challenge to find everything
published about a taxon. Some groups, such as frogs, are especially prone to
name changes as their classification is unstable. Frogs have a pretty good
online database detailing name changes, but most animal groups lack this,
leaving people like me floundering around trying to make sense of multiple names
why may or may not be for the same thing.

It seems to me that names should be unique and stable. We don't change the name
of a species called "africanus" if we discover that the specimen locality was
actually from Australia, nor do we change the name "maximus" if we subsequently
discover a bigger species. But we do if we move it to a new genus. Why?

Presumably it's because we like the idea of being able to interpret the name -
two members of the same genus are presumably more closely related to each other
than to a species in a different genus. But demonstrably that is often untrue
(otherwise we wouldn't have all the name changes due to moving species to
different genera), and we've learnt not to interpret the name literally when
inferring any biological attributes, so why the desire to have the name match
some current notion of classification? Why not simply accept that we can't infer
relationships from the name?

It seems to be that if we simply stopped trying to make names reflect
classification, at a stroke we'd remove perhaps the primary cause of
nomenclatural instability. For example, the recent case of Drosophila
melanogaster would be a non-issue. It's "Drosophila melanogaster" regardles sof
whether it's nested in the part of the fly tree that includes Sophophora. The
relationships of the taxon would have no bearing on its name.

Discuss.

--------------------------------------------------------- Roderic Page Professor of Taxonomy Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graham Kerr Building University of Glasgow Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.p@bio.gla.ac.uk Tel: +44 141 330 4778 Fax: +44 141 330 2792 Skype: rdmpage AIM: rodp@aim.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192 Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html

_______________________________________________

Taxacom Mailing List Taxa@mailman.nhm.ku.edu http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
methods:

(1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org

(2) a Google search specified as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
 your search terms here

_______________________________________________

Taxacom Mailing List Taxa@mailman.nhm.ku.edu http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
methods:

(1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org

(2) a Google search specified as: site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
your search terms here