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Re: JVP 29(2) Spoiler Alert
David Marjanovic wrote:
> > Stegosaur workers have treated _Gigantspinosaurus_ as
> a valid name...
> True, but completely irrelevant to the ICZN.
Apparently, the name _Gigantspinosaurus_ appeared in a publication that was
disseminated to attendees of a youth academic conference in China (Nanjing,
1992). Therefore, _Gigantspinosaurus_ may fall under Article 9 ("What does not
constitute published work"), 9.9 ("abstracts of articles, papers, posters,
texts of lectures, and similar material when issued primarily to participants
at meetings, symposia, colloquia or congresses.").
So the validity of _Gigantspinosaurus_ boils down to whether the publication in
question conforms to 9.9. This is not clear cut; it may come down to
hair-splitting over what is meant by "primarily" (!). The only reason the ICZN
would become involved is if somebody forces the issue, and brings the matter to
the attention of the ICZN. This could happen (and probably would only happen)
if a matter of priority arises - such as if somebody else erected a name for a
_Gigantspinosaurus_ specimen (type or referred), and then claimed their name
had priority because in their view _Gigantspinosaurus_ is not a valid name.
Given the vagueness of Chapter 3 of the Code, the matter of "valid publication"
is a gray area. Certain names that were erected under dubious circumstances
have become entrenched as valid names (such as _Coloradisaurus_). Others have
not (such as "Walkersaurus", a nomen nudum). Like _Coloradisaurus_,
_Gigantspinosaurus_ seems to have accreted into a valid name through usage,
despite the suspect circumstances surrounding the original 1992 publication.
I've wondered if the Code's vagueness is deliberate, and the ICZN lets the
broader scientific community decide validity in a _de facto_ sense. That is,
unless a specific dispute occurs (such as over priority), which would require
ICZN intervention, and a _de jure_ decision on whether the name is valid or
Because it's such a gray area, I've wondered if the ICZN effectively washes its
hands of this issue. Except in matters of priority, of course, when there are
two names both claiming to be valid. But this isn't the case for