Message 2002-04-0005: Re: Gender of species names?

Thu, 18 Apr 2002 19:03:07 +0200

[Previous by date - Re: Fwd: Gender of species names?]
[Next by date - Fw: Gender of species names?]
[Previous by subject - Re: GALTONIA THE FLOWER]
[Next by subject - Re: Gender of species names?]

Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 19:03:07 +0200
From: David Marjanovic <>
Subject: Re: Gender of species names?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Philip Cantino" <>
Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2002 2:26 PM

> I will take this opportunity to point out a recent response to Benton
> and other critics that Harold Bryant and I published in Biological
> Reviews (77: 39-55 [2002]).  Our paper addresses common threads that
> run through the various critiques of phylogenetic nomenclature that
> have been published by Benton, Nixon & Carpenter, etc.

Thanks for the ref, I'll see if I can find it.

> I don't think that the point that David raises here has been
> discussed previously.  I agree with Fredrik's preference to retain
> the gender of the epithet as it appears in the preexisting
> combination from which the species name is converted.

Well, there is often more than one preexisting combination... (Though it
appears to be amazingly rare that the genus names in question don't have the
same gender.)
        Names above the genus are always plural words. The grammatically
most secure method I can find would be to put these names into the genetive
when used as a clade address... this would be pretty cumbersome.
        The partial foot *"Dromaeosaurus"* = *"Ornithomimus"* = *"Mononykus"
minutus* would become *minutus* under method M and be used as *Mononykinae
minutus* with a clade address. I think grammatically *minutus Mononykinarum*
(or with reversed word order, as Latin doesn't care), "the little one of the
Mononykinae" would be most correct.

>  In order to
> adapt the epithet to the clade address that immediately proceeds it
> (one possibility suggested by David), one would have to know the
> gender of each clade name.  This would be time-consuming to determine
> and would be especially difficult for clade names that were not
> converted from genus names.

Oh, oops. What I wrote applies only to clade names converted from genus
names. :-] (The genders of genera are usually very easy to determine, if
only by looking at current specific epithets.)

> [...] One
> negative aspect of epithet-based names that was not discussed in that
> paper is that converting an epithet to a name will entail using an
> adjective as a noun.  Names should be nouns, but epithets like
> americana, latifolia, purpurea, etc. are descriptive adjectives. [...]
> I do think it is worth taking into consideration in the ongoing discussion
> of how species will be named under the PhyloCode.

I agree. Epithet-based names are easiest to use when they are *leo*,
*tigris* and so on.


Feedback to <> is welcome!