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 acceptable publications.
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
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 16:54:41 -0700
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
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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