Message 2004-08-0006: Re: Registration

Sat, 28 Aug 2004 14:52:32 -0700 (PDT)

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Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 14:52:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: "T. Michael Keesey" <>
To: Mailing List - Dinosaur <>
Cc:, Mailing List - PhyloCode <>
Subject: Re: Registration

I would like to move this discussion from the Dinosaur Mailing List to a more
appropriate forum: the PhyloCode Mailing List. Instructions for joing can be
found on their website at <>; or, what the heck, I'll paste
them here:

"If you would like to join an internet discussion group focusing on
phylogenetic nomenclature, send a message to The message
should read: "subscribe PhyloCode" (without the quotation marks). Do not
include anything else in the message. In a short time, you should receive an
automatic reply explaining how to send messages to the discussion group."

--- "Jaime A. Headden" <> wrote:
> I want to get to the core of what I think is either too lax of a
> system or too easy a one to play with, and to point out reasons why the
> current recommendations and "registration" need to be tighter, more
> controlled.
> David Marjanovic ( wrote:
> <It isn't automated. If you coin a name and want it to be valid, you have
> to visit the registration database (available online, of course) and
> submit it. The webmaster will register it as soon as you notify him/her of
> publication.>
>   And what qualifies as publication? David stated below that _some_
> dissertations _could_ be, which is ridiculous: dissertations on their face
> have NEVER been treated as a valid source of nomenclature, no MATTER the
> number of institutionally available copies there were, or how many people
> had a copy of it. This is usually why authors of dissertations tend to
> _publish_ their work after the thesis/dissertation has been accepted and
> they attain their degree; some publish work from it PRIOR to acceptance,
> but that is a moot issue.
> 4.2. Publication, under this code, is defined as distribution of text (but
> not sound), with or without images, in a peer-reviewed book or periodical.
> To qualify as published, works must consist of numerous (at least 50
> copies), simultaneously obtainable, identical, durable, and unalterable
> copies, some of which are distributed to major institutional libraries in
> the field so that the work is generally accessible as a permanent public
> record to the scientific community, be it through sale or exchange or
> gift, and subject to the restrictions and qualifications in the present
> article.
> <No more nomina nuda.>
>   Actually, if it were to meet the requirements of publication, the name
> can still be considered as published in agreement to the code. Does this
> name get "forgotten" until the description/definition exists?

But the requirements of publication include a definition -- a name published
without one would have no formal status.

> Or someone actually assigns it a number? It's that "someone" that worries me.

I would assume that a number would be assigned automatically by a database
algorithm, not a person. This is extremely common (nearly universal) in

Which reminds me of a question I asked before but can't recall a definitive
answer to: what will the tables look like for the PhyloCode Mailing List? (As a
web developer *and* someone who follows systematics, I'm highly interested.)
> <Hardly, because the qualifications for validity are so simple. Note that
> before actually submitting the name, the author is most likely going to
> search the database for a homonym (identical name) or synonym (identical
> definition).>
>   Possible, doesn't mean s/he will.

But you can set up the database so that it automatically rejects an entry with
a duplicate name. Trivially easy. That would make it impossible to register a

> Are we including all invertebrates to avoid *Syntarsus* and *Rahova*
> again?

I don't see why not; another benefit of on-line registration.

> What plants will go in, and who will rename *Gastonia,* the tooth,

(_Gastonia_ is a lot more than a tooth, but your point still holds.)

> preoccupied by the plant?

Now this is a very interesting point. I was hoping that some talk at the Paris
meeting would cover this, but I didn't see any such abstracts.

There are hundreds of synonyms between the various pre-existing codes, and
there can be none in the PhyloCode. It seems to me that this would warrant at
least a recommendation, preferrably favoring the older usage and maybe even
suggesting how to rename the junior taxon.

One possibility I'll throw out there is to suggest adding prefixes to the
younger names: perhaps "Phyto-" if covered by the ICBN, "Zoo-" if covered by
the ICZN, and "Monero-" if covered by the BC. Thus the animal _Gastonia_ could
be converted as Zoogastonia, etc. Perhaps this is unnecessary, but it seems to
me it would help speed up and smoothen out the conversion process.

> <- Under the ICZN, it's enough to publish a name to make it valid. It's a
> nomen nudum in that case, but still. Under the PhyloCode a name cannot
> become validly published if it isn't already registered!>
>   It can't be a nomen nudum unless it's published. If it's published with
> intent, under the code, it's not a nomen nudum. Imagine how this works
> out: Mike Keesey publishes his description of a clade system (see
> in a periodiocal (note, publication criteria doesn't
> require peer-review, it says "_or_ periodical" [of which _Prehistoric
> Times_ is one]) as a description, using the names *Alpha,* *Beta,* etc.
> These, because they show NO intent to name new species but simply form
> species/genus and clade groups by explicit use, even offer definitions,
> become absolute valid names.

Umm, not without type specimens, they wouldn't.

(The rest snipped; see the Dinosaur Mailing List Archives at

=====> T. Michael Keesey <>
=====> The Dinosauricon <>
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