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RE: Pickering's nomina nuda (was RE: Rob Gay's print-on-demand publication of Kayentavenator elysiae
I tend to regard nomina nuda as validly published nomenclature that do not
otherwise satisfy the ICZN's requirements for publication as nomina valida.
That is, were *Quetzalcoatlus northropi* published without a concurrent
description or photo, but in a legitimate venue, it would be a nomen nudum. The
same cannot be said of Pickering's taxa, since the ICZN specifically indicates
that the lack of satisfaction for two of its requirements means that names he
produced aren't even recognized nomina of any sort. While both Mortimer and
Olshevsky regard these taxa as nomina nuda, I don't regard them as nomina at
all. And not to rag on Mortimer and Olshevsky too much, but there are names
that are effectively _nicknames_ of specimens that are used as nomina nuda, and
the latter even argues for dissertation-produced names for being nomina, nuda
or otherwise, despite the ICZN restricting dissertations from the list of
So there are really three levels to this:
1. Published terminology that roughly corresponds to a label for something,
be it a clade or a specimen, used as taxonomy. These are not nomina of any sort.
2. Published terminology that meets some but not all of the ICZN's
requirements. These are nomina nuda or nomina vana, depending on the usage.
3. Published terminology that meets all of the ICZN's requirements. These are
nomina valida (unless set aside for formal reasons -- rejecta -- or forgotten
through disuse or disregard -- oblita).
A fourth category, should we feel inclined, lies between 1 and 2 (call it
1.5) which corresponds to _lapsus calami_, and are not considered nomina nuda
or anything, and cannot compete for priority or be useful for elevation of
status, without special action in cases where two names are potential lapses
for one another.
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 16:54:41 -0700
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> CC: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Pickering's nomina nuda (was RE: Rob Gay's print-on-demand
> publication of Kayentavenator elysiae
> Jaime Headden wrote:
>> As noted by Tim, Pickering's works are produced in a
>> fashion that prohibits access to them, a clear violation of
>> two of the ICZN's requirements for publication
>> (accessibility, and deposition), and by this reason are
>> regarded by the majority (if not all but a very small
>> number) of workers.
> I really didn't think that *anyone* accepts Pickering's proposed new genera
> ("Walkersaurus") and species ("Elaphrosaurus philtippetensis", "Tyrannosaurus
> stanwinstonorum", etc) as valid. Even George Olshevsky, who has erected
> several dinosaurs names via self-publication, regards Pickering's names as
> nomina nuda (e.g., see http://www.polychora.com/dinolist.html).
> Pickering's self-published 'works' typically take the form of paranoid rants
> that cover a wide range of topics, from national socialism to Sigmund Freud
> to King King; the new dinosaur names are inserted as a kind of afterthought.
> However, neither the deplorable and self-indulgent quality of his works, nor
> the fact that the works were self-published, are the reasons why Pickering's
> names are universally held to be nomina nuda. As Jaime says, it is because
> Pickering made no attempt to establish a permanent scientific record. It
> appears that his 'works' (newsletters) were sent unsolicited to various
> paleontologists (and others, such as Steven Spielberg), and therefore qualify
> only as private correspondence.
> Thus, when Roger Benson erected the new genus _Duriavenator_ for
> _Megalosaurus hesperis_, the fact that Pickering had previously named the
> same species "Walkersaurus" had no impact at all on priority, because
> "Walkersaurus" was a nomen nudum.
> Nevertheless, it is a frightening thought that if Pickering had bothered to
> deposit his 'works', and made them accessible, that we might have been stuck
> with all his horrible monikers ("Elaphrosaurus philtippetensis", and so on).
> Then again, the more likely outcome is that subsequent workers would have
> ignored his plethora of names in their own publications - w
> o have happened anyway.
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