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Re: ICZN exegesis was Re: New Shandong Dinosaur Discoveries



Jaime Headden wrote:

>   I have noted before, I think (and in conjunction with Tim
> Williams) that parts of the current Code are ambiguous on
> mandating alterations to nomenclature

The Code is ambiguous on a great many issues.  Many of the rules are not 
black-and-white, but shades of gray.  I think this might be a deliberate 
strategy on the ICZN's part.  Rather than having to adjudicate on every 
nomenclatural issue, the ICZN lets a "community rules" standard apply.  
Although it take some time (sometimes with a few bruises along the way), a 
consensus usually emerges with regards to most nomenclatural matters - correct 
spelling, validity of certain names, and so on.

For example, Ouyang's stegosaur genus _Gigantspinosaurus_ seems to have been 
accepted by workers in the field as a valid genus (in the nomenclatural sense) 
even though there is some uncertainty over whether the publication in which the 
name first appears actually meets ICZN criteria (especially 9.9).

http://dml.cmnh.org/2007Mar/msg00039.html

There are other cases where suspect names have 'stuck' through consensus by 
workers in the field.  For example, the genus _Coloradisaurus_ (a replacement 
for the preoccupied _Coloradia_) was coined accidentally by Lambert in a 
popular science book, but seems to have accreted into a valid genus, with 
little fanfare along the way.

http://dml.cmnh.org/2008Mar/msg00255.html

On the other hand, Pickering's various proposed theropod genus and species 
names ("Walkersaurus", "Tyrannosaurus stanwinstonorum", etc) have been 
universally treated as *invalid* (nomina nuda).  In these cases, it's clear 
that the method of publication isn't within a bull's roar of what the ICZN 
considers valid.  So the 'names' are studiously ignored.

http://dml.cmnh.org/2003Jul/msg00156.html

Thus, Benson had a free hand to refer _Megalosaurus hesperis_ to a new genus 
(_Duriavenator_), despite the fact that a new genus ("Walkersaurus") had 
previously been proposed, but never gained acceptance.  Even George Olshevsky 
regards it as a nomen nudum...

http://www.polychora.com/dinolist.html

The _Richardoestesia_/_Ricardoestesia_ issue seems to be resolving in favor of 
the former spelling, even though the latter was the *intended* spelling, and 
both spellings continue to circulate in the scientific literature.  It would 
take a ruling by the ICZN to determine the correct spelling once and for all, 
but so far this hasn't transpired. 

http://dml.cmnh.org/2002Jul/msg00559.html

Cheers

Tim