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Re: Horns and Beaks: New taxa and descriptions
Denver Fowler wrote:
My point was that too many postings on this list end up as spats about
taxonomic minutae. I am aware of the irony.
Such minutiae include the fact the original type specimen for _Iguanodon_
(the first named dinosaur, no less) was indeterminate, and therefore
required an ICZN decision.
No it isn't irrelevant. Names should be clear in origin, and convey at
least some sort of relevant meaning. Since they are intended to last
forever, they should also have some sort of eloquence.
I agree that names should be clear in origin, and convey at least some sort
meaning. But too often they don't. The ICZN quite simply doesn't care. I
do wish stupid names could be changed (I take your point regarding
_Vectisaurus_); but when it comes to stupid names, the ICZN is whistling
For example, the names _Protarchaeopteryx_, _Arrhinoceratops_,
_Pararhabdodon_, _Sarcolestes_, and (probably) _Protoavis_ all have meanings
that are incorrect. But we're stuck with these names nonetheless.
Vectisaurus atherfieldensis would be a confusing mistake,
Firstly, the combination _Vectisaurus atherfieldensis_ would probably not
happen, because _V. valdensis_ has priority over _I. atherfieldensis_. Most
paleontologists have chosen to keep _I. atherfieldensis_ anyway in
preference to _V. valdensis_, even when they consider the two to be
synonymous. But this situation can't endure. The combination _Vectisaurus
atherfieldensis_ would require an ICZN ruling, with _atherfieldensis_
overriding the earlier-named _valdensis_ by fiat.
Secondly, the priority of the name _Vectisaurus_ will hinge upon the
historical nomenclature and the nature of the type material - not on any
aesthetic judgement, nor on the etymology of the name(s).
This is all certainly 'taxonomic minutiae', for sure. But getting it
resolved would be preferable to having several different names for the same
animal circulating in the literature.
Use your PC to make calls at very low rates