Message 2001-02-0041: Fwd: species and clades

Thu, 08 Feb 2001 17:20:09 -0500

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Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001 17:20:09 -0500
From: Philip Cantino <>
Subject: Fwd: species and clades

David Hillis wrote:

>Such a rule is may not be clear to everyone on the
>listserv that the plan is to include rules for naming species before
>the code is adopted. To do otherwise would indeed create massive
>problems. We just haven't settled on those species-naming rules yet.
>We've had extensive discussions about this point in the past, and
>many (most?) of us would not want to adopt any code that didn't
>include rules for both clades and species. We just haven't written
>the species rules yet.

Whoa!  This statement may seem like deja vu for those who were
involved in the discussion last March.  To make what could be a very
long story as short as possible, here is my understanding of what was

In February, 1999, an e-mail vote was taken among the advisory group,
and it was resolved that the PhyloCode should eventually include
rules governing species names, but that "the first version of the
code should be restricted to clade names" (from my message of
2/26/99).  In the course of discussion on the listserv a year later,
it became apparent that some members of the advisory group
interpreted "version" differently than others.  David's statement
(above) reflects his understanding that "version" meant draft--i.e.,
the first draft placed on the web for public comment would be
restricted to clade names, not the first implemented version of the
code.  His understanding was shared by at least two other members of
the advisory group, but many others interpreted "version" to mean
implemented version--i.e., that the code would initially be
implemented for clade names only, and rules for species names would
be written and implemented subsequently.  [For those who were part of
the discussion back then and kept the messages, see my message of
March 23, 2000. entitled "re: problem?"]  The upshot is that the vote
was ambiguous because people who ostensibly voted the same way had
differing understandings of what they voted for.  It was decided that
we would revisit the issue at some future date before implementing
the code.  There has been little if any discussion of the issue since
then, but I suspect that opinions on the subject are just as strong
and divergent as they were last March.


Philip D. Cantino
Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental and Plant Biology
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701-2979

Phone: (740) 593-1128; 593-1126
Fax: (740) 593-1130


Feedback to <> is welcome!