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ICZN comes to its senses



The following item came across the ICZN list July 1. Although the ICZN has
blown off _Rioarribasaurus_, at least it won't be blowing off Latin in its
next edition:

<<Towards the 4th Edition of the Zoological Code - Progress Report July 1st,
1996.

by Alessandro Minelli, President of ICZN


A new draft of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (hereafter,
CODE) has been prepared for submission to the International Commission on
Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) at Budapest (mid August) for formal adoption
of the principles embodied therein. The Editorial Committee (Ride, chairman;
Cogger, Dupuis, Kraus, Minelli, Thompson, Tubbs), met at Vicenza, Italy,
24-30 June 1996, and considered comments from more than 200 zoologists
world-wide. The following major changes and comments are made in respects to
the draft previously circulated to the zoological community.

1. Implementation date of the draft, if acceptable to the ICZN and its parent
organization, the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), will be
1 January 1999.

2. The proposal to require registration of scientific works and names in the
Zoological Record was rejected.

3. The provisions to allow the ICZN to give official status to parts of a
developing 'List of available names' were retained. The Editorial Committee
noted the fear of some colleagues that these lists could be accepted as
endorsed as official classifications and assures the zoological community
that there is nothing in the draft that allows for such an occurrence or
interpretation.

4. The limitation of the principle of priority, more properly the reversal of
precedence, was retained, but the conditions under which the limitation
applies were increased to the use of the junior name in at least 25 works by
at least 10 independent authors in the immediately preceding 50 years so long
those works encompass a span of not less than 10 years.

5. The proposals to formally require diagnoses and that they be in languages
using the Latin alphabet were rejected.

6. The proposal to require explicit fixation of types for new species-group
names was strengthened by requiring that, wherever possible, types be
deposited in publicly accessible institutions as is currently required for
neotypes.

7. The proposal to abandon the gender of genus-group names and to return to
the original spellings of species epithet was rejected. The draft returns to
the current wording of the 3rd edition of the CODE. The Editorial Committee,
in framing the options presented in the Discussion Draft on this issue,
sought to test the proposition that nomenclature, taxonomy and general
zoology would be best served by making the epithets invariate in their
spelling. A very large number of respondents interpreted the issue as one of
supporting or rejecting Latin grammar in zoological nomenclature. However
many zoologists from within the majority supporting Latin, expressed a wish
to achieve stability and universality in the spelling of species epithets
without abandoning Latin grammar. To this end a proposal was made that the
feminine Latin word 'species' be implied to exist between a generic name and
a specific epithet; epithets, if adjectival, could then be expressed in
feminine form. This option could provide a means of verifying proper spelling
and for invariance in the spelling of species epithets without a major
offence to the tradition of Latin. A majority of the Editorial Committee asks
that this proposal be explored further. Any comment available to the
Editorial Committee and the Commission before the Budapest venue will be
appreciated.>>