atom feed94 messages in edu.ku.nhm.mailman.taxacomRe: [Taxacom] Objective synonyms?
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27 earlier messages
Curtis ClarkMay 29, 2010 9:16 am 
Robin LeechMay 29, 2010 9:19 am 
Thomas LammersMay 29, 2010 10:53 am 
Curtis ClarkMay 29, 2010 12:07 pm 
Kim van der LindeMay 29, 2010 1:00 pm 
Neal EvenhuisMay 29, 2010 1:18 pm 
Michael A. IvieMay 29, 2010 2:00 pm 
Curtis ClarkMay 29, 2010 2:38 pm 
Curtis ClarkMay 29, 2010 2:52 pm 
Geoffrey ReadMay 29, 2010 4:43 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 29, 2010 5:23 pm 
Bob MesibovMay 30, 2010 12:30 am 
dipt...@freeler.nlMay 30, 2010 12:53 am 
dipt...@freeler.nlMay 30, 2010 1:24 am 
Gary RosenbergMay 30, 2010 9:01 am 
Dan LahrMay 30, 2010 10:20 am 
Gregor HagedornMay 30, 2010 2:08 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 30, 2010 2:38 pm 
Jim CroftMay 30, 2010 3:44 pm 
Gregor HagedornMay 30, 2010 3:50 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 30, 2010 3:54 pm 
Geoffrey ReadMay 30, 2010 4:02 pm 
Francisco Welter-SchultesMay 30, 2010 5:02 pm 
RICHARD E PETITMay 30, 2010 5:12 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 30, 2010 5:22 pm 
Curtis ClarkMay 30, 2010 5:40 pm 
Curtis ClarkMay 30, 2010 5:53 pm 
Francisco Welter-SchultesMay 30, 2010 6:17 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 30, 2010 6:30 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 30, 2010 6:51 pm 
Michael A. IvieMay 30, 2010 7:17 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 30, 2010 7:35 pm 
Curtis ClarkMay 30, 2010 8:35 pm 
Curtis ClarkMay 30, 2010 8:47 pm 
Stephen ThorpeMay 30, 2010 10:22 pm 
Geoff ReadMay 31, 2010 12:52 am 
Stephen ThorpeMay 31, 2010 1:17 am 
Paul KirkMay 31, 2010 2:23 am 
Francisco Welter-SchultesMay 31, 2010 3:06 am 
Francisco Welter-SchultesMay 31, 2010 3:32 am 
dipt...@freeler.nlMay 31, 2010 4:24 am 
Francisco Welter-SchultesMay 31, 2010 4:48 am 
Nadia TalentMay 31, 2010 4:52 am 
Kim van der LindeMay 31, 2010 5:20 am 
Francisco Welter-SchultesMay 31, 2010 6:47 am 
Curtis ClarkMay 31, 2010 6:49 am 
Gary RosenbergMay 31, 2010 9:03 am 
Peter StevensMay 31, 2010 12:12 pm 
Tony...@csiro.auMay 31, 2010 1:41 pm 
Thomas PapeMay 31, 2010 1:45 pm 
17 later messages
Subject:Re: [Taxacom] Objective synonyms?
From:Stephen Thorpe (
Date:May 30, 2010 5:22:10 pm

Thanks Francisco for yet another idiosyncratic take on the ICZN Code! It is not
so easy to extract the important points from the rather extensive commentary,
but if I understand correctly:

(1) [this may come as a BIG SHOCK to the bioinformatics people, but] Panthera
uncia,  Uncia uncia and Felis uncia are all the same name!

(2) these three different "things" (names???) are neither (objective) synonyms
nor homotypic, because only Felis uncia has a type!

Gosh!!!! And Geoff thought my interpretation of the ICZN was radical!


________________________________ From: Francisco Welter-Schultes <> To: Sent: Mon, 31 May, 2010 12:02:23 PM Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Objective synonyms?

The problem that was raised in the Wikipedia posting concerned originally zoological names. I only refer to names under the ICZN Code here. It is my understanding that in all language versions Wikipedia intends to apply nomenclatural terms (for the taxobox) as used and defined by the ICZN Code for the scientific zoological names.

I am responding to statements by Curtis Clark, Gary Rosenberg and Kim van der Linde.

I recommend to consult again Thomas Pape's comment to this discussion. This was an important comment. I do not always agree with his interpretation of the Code, but in most cases yes, and in this case entirely. In most such cases Thomas finds the keys to the answers very quickly. It is worth reading again what he wrote.

In contrast to Curtis' last statement

The Code has nothing to say beyond a glossary definition that can be interpreted in different ways

, I think that the ICZN Code definition is absolutely clear in its definition of objective synonymy, and in this detail I agree entirely with Thomas Pape: "the objectivity relates to one and the same exemplar or individual being the name-bearing type"

This was the key sentence. The ongoing discussion can only be explained by contributors not having understood what this meant.

I am surprised about Gary Rosenberg's interpretation of the Code, for which I see no written base:

Uncia uncia and Panthera uncia are both species names. They are different names, they have the same rank and the same type, so they are objective synonyms.

1. I find no support in the ICZN Code to define these as two different names. I can also say it is the same name, in different combinations. The ICZN Code rules nomenclature and I would be careful to apply it for taxonomical issues, for which the Code gives no clear instructions.

2. Neither Uncia uncia nor Panthera uncia has a type under the Code, only the nominal taxon Felis uncia [Schreber, 1776] can have types. The term "objective synonym" as used and defined in the ICZN Code is restricted to nominal taxa. Under the ICZN Code this term cannot be used for species names.

ICZN Code: Glossary: objective synonym: Each of two or more synonyms that denote nominal taxa with the same name-bearing type, or (in the cases of family-group and genus-group taxa) that denote nominal taxa with name-bearing types whose own names are themselves objectively synonymous.

Gary I cite you again:

Canis familiaris is a species name and Canis lupus familiaris is a subspecies name; they are different names, have the same type, but not the same rank, so they are not objective synonyms.

Also here the same problem: mixup of "name" and "nominal taxon" - only a nominal taxon can have types. Only the nominal taxon Canis familiaris Linnæus, 1758 can have types. Canis familiaris and Canis lupus familiaris as species and subspecies names refer to the same and only one nominal taxon.

Let me complete commenting also your last statement:

but not the same rank, so they are not objective synonyms. (In the former, "familiaris" is a specific name but in the later it is a subspecific name, > but it is still the same name, so not an objective synonym as only one name is involved

Just to make it clear: a nominal taxon originally established as a specific name can be an objective synonym of another nominal taxon originally established as a subspecific name, given that both are based on the same name-bearing type.

Now I come to Kim's statements.

the original name was Panthera uncia

(from your Wikipedia posting, 20:46, 29 May 2010 (UTC))

I would say this statement was incorrect. The snow leopard was established as Felix Vncia, corrected original spelling Felis uncia, by Schreber (name of the author was not given on the title page of the work) in 1776 (date when plate C [= 100] appeared, following Sherborn 1902) (the name Felix Vncia was written on the plate, combined with the beautiful figure this made the name available). In the page scrollbox scroll down to page 63 : C, this is the original description of the snow leopard.

So I would say the orignal name was Felis uncia [Schreber], 1776.

The "synonym" Panthera uncia Schreber, 1775 as given in the English Wikipedia page is nomenclaturally incorrect for 3 reasons: genus incorrect, year incorrect, application of the term "synonym" incorrect.

Your posting on Taxacom:

An example of an objective synonym is the tarpan (the European wild horse) which was described by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1774.

Samuel Gottlieb Gmelin. Gave a description, without scientific name.

For your information: Erxleben 1777 established a name Equus asinus ferus, for the onager (= the wild Asian ass). This preoccupies most probably the name ferus in the genus Equus. I would change the Wikipedia pages which mention Equus ferus as the name for the tarpan, and use the next available synonym for the wild horse.

In 1784 Pieter Boddaert named the tarpan Equus ferus, referring to Gmelin's description.

And to Pallas, and to Pennant. And Boddaert also gave his own description. True year was probably 1785, although Dec 1784 was printed on p. VI.

Unaware of Boddaert's name, Otto Antonius published the name Equus gmelini in 1912, again referring to Gmelin's description. Since the two names refer to the same description, they are objective synonyms.

This statement is incorrect. Many zoologists make this mistake.

The only two reasons why they would be objective synonyms would be (1) "because they are based on one and the same single type specimen", and (2) "because Antonius established that name expressly as a new replacement name for Boddaert's name". Your words strongly suggest that E. gmelini was published as a regular new name, not as a new replacement name, and I also assume that since the identity of the wild horse has been clear, lectotypes have not been designated.

Even if Antonius 1912 gave a statement "shall refer to exactly the same animal as described by Gmelin 1774", this would not be an objective synyonym. Why? Because Boddaert 1785 had based his name on various different type specimens. He referred to various different sources - all the animals behind all those 4 descriptions (Gmelin's, Pennant's, Pallas' and Boddaert's) were the syntypes of Boddaert's name.

If a name is based on various type specimens, it cannot be an objective synonym of another regularly established name. This works only if both have one and the same single type specimen.

To explain this more simply: If name 1 is based on type specimens A and B, and name 2 on the same type specimens A and B - then an author could select as lectotype for name 1 syntype A, and for name 2 syntype B, and specimens A and B could belong to different species - hence no objective synonymy.

So Kim, most synonyms are subjective, and even more than one may suspect.

I would either establish a Wikipedia page for Equus gmelini - and redirect that to the wild horse page. Or I would make clear in the synonyms box that E. gmelini is currently accepted by most authors as a subjective synonym of whatever name the wild horse should carry.

Francisco University of Goettingen, Germany


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