Message 2000-07-0008: Re: Art 10.1

Mon, 31 Jul 2000 12:04:57 -0400

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Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 12:04:57 -0400
From: Kevin de Queiroz <Dequeiroz.Kevin@NMNH.SI.EDU>
Subject: Re: Art 10.1

Gerry Moore raised a good point:

"Art. 10.1 states that "[a] preexisting specific or infraspecific epithet
may not be converted to a clade name."  In botany many generic names in use
are spelled identically to species epithets.  For example,  the name
Paradoxa is in current use for a genus of fungus.  However, the name
"paradoxa" is commonly used as a specific (and infraspecific) epithet. (We
botanists apparently find a lot of things to be contrary to our
expectations.) Doesn't Art 10.1 ban the conversion of Paradoxa to a clade
name?  This rule would result in great instability when names used in the
old system are converted to the new system. In zoology, things are even
worse since tautonyms are perfectly acceptable (though rare).  Doesn't the
existence of Rattus rattus (rat) prohibit the conversion of Rattus to a
clade name under Art 10.1 (in other words rats will have to be called
something else other than Rattus under the Phylocode)?"

>We may want to revise this rule to indicate that it doesn't apply to
preexisting genus names (or those associated with even higher ranks) that
are spelled identically (except for capitalization) to preexisting epithets.
 On the other hand, we may decide that we do indeed want to prohibit this
type of homonymy.  In any case, it's an issue that needs to be considered. 

"To me the goal of Article 10.1 -- preventing homonomy between clade names
and species (and infraspecific) epithets  -- is not desirable as it would
cause great instability since many widely used generic names would be banned
from use (since they are also used as epithets)."

Actually, the purpose of this article was not to prevent homonomies of the
type you indicated between clade names and species names.  The purpose was
to prevent people who didn't believe in species from converting names that
other people use for species as the names of small clades that have roughly
the same composition as the species.  

"Also, Note 10.1.1 seems unworkable since it may oftentimes be impossible
to know if someone did this deliberately or not.  Why is Article 10.1

In most cases this shouldn't be difficult to determine.  As long as the
author follows Article 9.5 (citation of the preexisting name upon which a
converted clade name is based), it should be possible to determine whether a
converted clade name is based on (for example) the genus name Paradoxa or
the specific epithet paradoxa.  

Kevin de Queiroz
31 July 2000


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