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Species Nomenclature Question


Missourian

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Does anyone know if a species name can be used only once within a given taxonomic group?

For (hypothetical) example, could there be a 'Modocia kingi' as well as Elrathia kingi? Or are there rules in place that preclude that?

I'd like to know, since the exclusive use of species names would help sort out the many genus name changes that have occurred over the years.

Context is critical.

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Missourian.. I think there is no rule against this. But then I don't know the Noemclature Code by heart. Anyone else?

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I don’t know what the rules are, but since the species part of the binomial can legitimately be an adjective, a place or a person then I don’t see how it can be regarded as unique. There are many instances of “gigantea” and “minor” being used as the species names across different genera, as well as terms like “domesticus/a/um” and “africanus/a/um”.

A prolific discoverer might well have his/her name used across many genera in recognition as the first to describe a species. For example, there is an antelope “Pantholops hodgsonii” and a shrub “Magnolia hodgsonii”, which are named after a Hodgson (although it’s not the same Hodgson in both cases). That could just as easily happen in a tighter taxonomic group being studied by one Hodgson.



Edited by painshill

Roger

I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who [Rudyard Kipling]

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In Eocene and Oligocene North Carolina echinoids there is a lack of imagination in a lot of the species names. Here are some examples:

Coelopleurus carolinensis - Eocene regular echinoid

Eupatagus carolinensis- Eocene irregular echinoid

Maretia carolinensis- Oligocene irregular echinoid

Psammechinus carolinensis- Oligocene regular echinoid

Rhyncholampas carolinensis- Eocene irregular echinoid

Unifascia carolinensis- Eocene irregular echinoid

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There is no rule against using the same species name, as it is the combination of genus and species names that must be unique. One risk of recycling the species name in closely related genera is that the genera could be synonymized, i.e. someone could show that the genera are not really different. In that case, the first genus name to be published will have priority, and the first species name will have priority, and a new species name will have to be proposed to relace the invalidated one. So, one genus and one species name will be retired, and the genus name can never be used again.

Don

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The thing to remember is that the last "name" in, for example, Elrathia kingi, is NOT the species name. "kingi" is called the trivial name, and it has no meaning what-so-ever by itself. Species names are binomial - that is, the name of the species is Elrathia kingi, not kingi.

There are no restrictions on the word used as the trivial name. It can be used as many times as a describer wants, with the exception that it can be used only once in a given genus. So if there is an Olenellus kingi which is a valid name, and a researcher determines that Olenellus is really the same genus as Elrathia, and combines them, there would be two Elrathia kingi, designating two different species, and a new name would have to be provided for what used to be Olenellus kingi. Given that Olenellus is larger than Elrathia, I might chose to designate what used to be Olenellus kingi with the new name Elrathia eukingi, meaning "the real king Elrathia".

There are lots more complications in the Code, but the points are: the trivial name is available to be used in every different genus; the trivial name is not the species name, and the Code has rules to cover such a situation.

Edited by RichW9090
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The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence".

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Hi,

The thing to remember is that the last "name" in, for example, Elrathia kingi, is NOT the species name. "kingi" is called the trivial name, and it has no meaning what-so-ever by itself. Species names are binomial - that is, the name of the species is Elrathia kingi, not kingi.

:thumbsu::goodjob:

I notice that very (too often) that many members speak about their finds only with the species name, by neglecting to mention the name of the genus.

When you speak between you (americans in particular), you know necessarily about which genus and which species it is a question, even if your names aren't good because they aren't complete but you don't put yourselves in OUR place, foreigners, (more in more numerous on this forum). We don't know necessarily your american faunae. We read you with just species name, without understanding about which genus you speak !

I shall not even mention your "bene" or "auri" names !

Thank you for having read to me and of the attention which you will have on this subject in the future. ;)

Coco

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As Rich says the binomial is intended to read as a “phrase” in Latin or Latinized Greek. It therefore takes into account points of grammar such as tense or gender (hence americus/a/um etc) and isolating the second word which determines the species doesn’t make sense in isolation.

Strictly speaking, in the botanical code the complete phrase is a “binomial” and in the zoological code it’s a “binominal” (although zoologists these days use the term binomial as well.) In both cases the first word is the “genus name” and the second designates the “specific name” (also known in botany as a “specific epithet”). The complete phrase is the “species name” in both codes.

The zoology code allows tautonyms such as “Bison bison” (so good they named it twice), but the botanical code does not.


Although an organism can have only one “correct” binomial/binominal (generally the earliest published one) there is no prohibition for “synonyms”… with two or more names in common use referring to the same species. One of them should however have priority, but there is a tendency for which one that might be to vary from country to country.

There is also a code in development by those who favour grouping organisms into “clades” (cladistics) rather than ranking them, which is probably going to add to the confusion.

Edited by painshill

Roger

I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who [Rudyard Kipling]

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Painshill,

There really isn't any allowance for country to country "preference" in the Code. The Code is International, and the rules in the Code clearly define which is the valid name. For those few cases where there is confusion over the correct name, the Code provides an appeal process which then fixes the valid name for all time. The Commission maintains two lists: the list of valid names, and the list of invalid names.

As for the alternative Code, (Phylocode) that has gotten absolutely no traction in the scientific community beyond a few fanatical adherents. The use of cladistic methodology does not require that a new Code be written; cladistics works quite well within a Linnaean framework. Cladistics is simply another tool, and a good tool, in our kit for deciphering the relationships between and among lifeforms.

I focus entirely on the animal world, so sometimes I forget that there is a Botanical Code as well, and that the rules are somewhat different for plants.

Taxonomy at the level we're talking about here boors most folks, and causes a glazed look in the eyes of many zoologists/paleontologists. But there are a few of us who like nothing more than a long, complicated, twisting tortuous search for the valid name of a species!

The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence".

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There is no rule against using the same species name, as it is the combination of genus and species names that must be unique. One risk of recycling the species name in closely related genera is that the genera could be synonymized, i.e. someone could show that the genera are not really different. In that case, the first genus name to be published will have priority, and the first species name will have priority, and a new species name will have to be proposed to relace the invalidated one. So, one genus and one species name will be retired, and the genus name can never be used again.

Don

That really is a shame, but then that horse left the barn long ago.

Context is critical.

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Painshill,

There really isn't any allowance for country to country "preference" in the Code. The Code is International, and the rules in the Code clearly define which is the valid name. For those few cases where there is confusion over the correct name, the Code provides an appeal process which then fixes the valid name for all time. The Commission maintains two lists: the list of valid names, and the list of invalid names.

As for the alternative Code, (Phylocode) that has gotten absolutely no traction in the scientific community beyond a few fanatical adherents. The use of cladistic methodology does not require that a new Code be written; cladistics works quite well within a Linnaean framework. Cladistics is simply another tool, and a good tool, in our kit for deciphering the relationships between and among lifeforms.

I focus entirely on the animal world, so sometimes I forget that there is a Botanical Code as well, and that the rules are somewhat different for plants.

Taxonomy at the level we're talking about here boors most folks, and causes a glazed look in the eyes of many zoologists/paleontologists. But there are a few of us who like nothing more than a long, complicated, twisting tortuous search for the valid name of a species!

In fact there's a third code as well... for bacteria, including Archaea (and a separate committee for viruses.) I understand that attempts to harmonise the ICN and ICZN codes are stalled, following the failure to agree in 2000. Yes, I know the ICZN decides the valid name when there are synonyms but, at national level, many authors continue to use the synonym which they believe their readership will most readily recognize… ICZN decisions or not… particularly when they need to cross-refer to previous publications using what has become an invalid name in the view of the nomenclature committee.

The PhyloCode is in a quite advanced draft form. I wasn’t suggesting that it requires Linnaean species names to be abandoned (and it still takes its lead from ICN and ICZN), but it does create a number of anomalous points of confusion. Here’s what it has to say on species names:

http://www.ohio.edu/phylocode/art21.html#chapter10

If that doesn’t add to the current confusion, I don’t know what will!

Roger

I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who [Rudyard Kipling]

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From RichW9090: "Taxonomy at the level we're talking about here boors most folks, and causes a glazed look in the eyes of many zoologists/paleontologists. But there are a few of us who like nothing more than a long, complicated, twisting tortuous search for the valid name of a species!"

Rousseau Flower, the late great paleozoic cephalopod (and sometimes coral) taxonomist, once wrote: "Paleontology, after all, should be the study of fossils, not the study of the names of fossils." This was after a long discussion of the history of the names applied to a particular coral, which involved a lot of intricate issues of lost types, unrecognizable descriptions, manuscript names that never got properly published but everybody used them anyway, monographs that had a certain date but were actually published a couple of years later, and so on. Boring to some, for sure, but the rules are the only way to ensure consistency, so that ultimately only one name is applied to a given species.

And yes, I should have used "trivial name" instead of "species name" in my earlier post.

Don

Edited by FossilDAWG
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An online correspondence of nomenclature would be handy, but I'm sure that would be a nightmare to set up and maintain. I guess it's back to digging through dozens of dusty journals to chase down a name.... :)

Edited by Missourian

Context is critical.

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At least in vertebrate pelontology, and in neo-mammalogy, scientific authors do not use the more familiar synonym in preference to the valid name - certainly not in any peer reviewed publications. They may do so in popular writings, but even then, the authors I see writing such popular articles often go to great lengths to explain the valid name. No one uses Brontosaurus any more, not even in children's books, unless to add in parentheses (used to be called Brontosaurus). If scientists in other areas of study are arbitrarily rejecting the valid name, they should be run out of the ivory tower tarred-and-feathered.

Rich

Edited by RichW9090

The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence".

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In my 30-odd years tying to ID fossils I have only once or twice run into the same trivial name attached to multiple genera of similar type. There may have been a few in the Cincinnatian and the NY Devonian. Both of these are faunas that had many, many folks (amateur and professional) doing research and publishing. More often than not the genera proved synonymous.

I got a bit insane at one point trying to locate every known species of the Cincinnatian Series (Upper Ordovician). I collected or borrowed hundreds of publications and at last count was up to around 1500-1700 published names. Those probably only represent 700-1000 true species. Flower was right, it is silly to get too caught up studying names instead of fossils.

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I got a bit insane at one point trying to locate every known species of the Cincinnatian Series (Upper Ordovician). I collected or borrowed hundreds of publications and at last count was up to around 1500-1700 published names. Those probably only represent 700-1000 true species. Flower was right, it is silly to get too caught up studying names instead of fossils.

That's why I'm content to limit my fossil tally to genera. If I can narrow it down to species, then that just icing on the cake.

Context is critical.

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Me too, I'm never sure of the species name for any given fossil I have in hand, so I just refer to it by the genus name.

I have noticed one instance where only the species name is used, but I don't know if there have been any examples of same species name twice causing confusion: biostratigraphic zones. Eg the 'elongatum zone'..

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