Message 2001-02-0020: RE: apomorphy-based names

Tue, 06 Feb 2001 14:34:27 -0500

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Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 14:34:27 -0500
From: "Moore, Gerry" <>
Subject: RE: apomorphy-based names

  I agree with D. Baum's criticism of draft Recommendation 11.8C ("clade
names derived from apomorphy names be given apomorphy definitions,...").

  I believe the intent (Jonathan W. or Kevin deQ. please correct me if am
wrong) of this draft recommendation is to deal with former suprafamilial
names developed in the traditional system in which the name is not based on
a type genus (e.g., Magnoliaceae based on the type genus Magnolia) but
rather is based on a character (e.g., Monocotyledonae). However, the way
Recommendation 11.8C is written it would suggest that  _all_ names "derived
from apomorphy names be given apomorphy-based defintions". Thus it seems to
cover former generic names that are derived from an apomorphy name.

  Indeed most current generic names when they are not eponymic are based on
some kind of diagnostic character that the taxon is believed to possess and
hence may be derived from an apomorphy name. Eriophorum (a sedge genus) is
derived from the taxon possessing silky perianth bristles. In these cases,
doesn't Recommendation 11.8C indicate that the apomorphy definition is to be
given preference over stem- and node-based definitions?   

  D. Hillis's example using the genus name Gastrotheca shows how there can
be translation and derivation determination difficulties. Should the name be
literally translated as "stomach pouch" and thus not having to do with the
pouch on the back or can it be more loosely translated so as to be derived
from the character involving the pouch on the backs of the females?  
  (I do struggle with the idea that a name developed centuries ago could be
viewed as derived from an apomorphy name. The taxon name was derived from a
character name that we may now accept as an apomorphy.)
  Also regarding new names let's say someone has identified a clade and
provided it with a stem- or node-based definition. Recommendation 11.8C
seems to frown on one then coming up with a new name for this clade that is
derived from an apomorphy name. Thus, one has less freedom in how to develop
a name for a clade when following Rec. 11.8C. and using stem- and node-based

  In summary, I believe we may be opening up a can of worms if Rec. 11.8C is
applied to former generic (or generic-based) names from the traditional
system or to new names. It probably poses less problems when converting
suprafamilial names that are based on apomorphy names  and that have well
established apomorphy-based concepts.   

Gerry Moore
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
06 Feb 2001       


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