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Re: GALTONIA (zoology vs. botany)



From: Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org

Here's what the new (4th edition) of the International 
Code of Zoological Nomenclaure says:
1.4 Independence. Zoological nomenclature is independent 
of other systems of nomenclature in that the name of an 
animal is not to be rejected merely because it is 
identical with the name of a taxon that is not animal (see 
Article 1.1.1).

Recommendation 1.A. Names already in use for taxa that are 
not animals. Authors intending to establish new genus-
group names are urged to consult the Index Nominum 
Genericorum (Plantarum) and the Approved List of Bacterial 
Names to determine whether identical names have been 
established under the International Codes of Nomenclature 
relevant to those lists, and if so, to refrain from 
publishing identical zoological names.

I have to plead some responsibility for the Galtonia 
situation--I researched the name for the authors before it 
was published to be sure it had not been used before in 
zoological nomenclature. I didn't check the botanical or 
bacteria literature, in part because the 3rd edition (1985 
version) of the Code merely stated that "It is preferable 
not to propose for a genus of animal a name already in use 
for a genus outside the animal kingdom"--and because all 
the resources needed were not easily available online or 
locally at the time. As quoted above, the Code now makes a 
firmer recommendation about not using generic names 
already established for plants or bacteria.

It's also now easier check names online (though these 
resources are not exhaustive and won't list ALL names ever 
used or new ones introduced in recently published 
literature):
botanical names:
http://www.ipni.org/

bacterial names:
http://www-sv.cict.fr/bacterio/index.html

There are literally thousands of matching spellings when 
zoological, botanical, and bacterial names are compared so 
dinosaur names such as Galtonia and Gastonia, which are 
also generic names for plants, are not all that glaring a 
case of biological homonymy. They are still acceptable for 
purposes of zoology. In the future, I will make the effort 
to check ALL biological generic names when authors ask, 
though this wider scope may turn up many more cases of  
names that are merely NOT recommended rather than 
preoccupied for purposes of zoology.  Dinosaur authors may 
want to keep their proposed names anyway. 

Electronic Databases
The increasing use of electronic databases such as BIOSIS, 
Georef, Geobase, Current Communications, and Zoological 
Record poses a new issue--a full search to find all the 
citations for a generic name can bring up nonbiological 
uses of particular names. For example, Gastonia is also 
the name of a town, which shows up on a full search in 
some of the databases (Georef, Geobase). I recently did a 
search for the possible preoccupied status of a name 
proposed for a forthcoming dinosaur and found that the 
name, though not used before as a generic name in zoology, 
matched the last name of numerous authors with South Asian 
nationalities.  I got over a 1000 hits on the name (none 
for a biological use) and suggested the authors slightly 
modify their proposed spelling--that way paleontologists 
in the future will only get hits on the dinosaur taxon 
when they do electronic searches rather than having to 
sort through hits on hundreds of papers by authors in all 
sorts of fields whose names are spelled the same way. 

The electronic search issue is one of the reasons I feel 
the spelling Richardoestesia should be accepted as-is 
rather than replaced with Ricardoestesia at this point. 
It's spelled Richardoestesia in the Zoological Record, 
BIOSIS, Georef, etc. If the name is switched after 10 
years of one usage, it means that researchers will have to 
remember to look up two very similar spellings for the 
name to find all the literature they need.  Because the 
spellings are so close, it won't be as obvious as checking 
synonyms used at various times (looking up Tarbosaurus 
refs under Tyrannosaurus literature, for example).