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Re: Pickering's nomina nuda (was RE: Rob Gay's print-on-demand publication of Kayentavenator elysiae

John Wilkins <john.s.wilkins@gmail.com> wrote:

> Forgive an outsider's ignorance, but
> isn't that just a valid *name*? The judgment that it is a
> valid species depends on whether or not specialists use it,
> surely?

The nomenclatural and taxonomic issues are separate.  If an amateur views a 
skeleton of a _Tyrannosaurus_, thinks it's a new species, and names it in a 
self-published work, then if that work satisfies ICZN criteria... it's a valid 

Meanwhile, the team of paleontologists who excavated, prepared and described 
the _Tyrannosaurus_ skeleton, and have decided to make it the type of a new 
species, still have their paper under review at a scientific journal.  If the 
amateur's publication appears first, then this team have been gazumped.

> If you all [taxonomists/paleontologists] think the species
> is badly described, or synonymous with some other name, or
> is just an invention, aren't you free to ignore it in your
> publications? 

No.  If one sticks to the letter of the Code, the species name is valid in a 
nomenclatural sense, and cannot simply be ignored (however much you may want 
to).  If the species is deemed to be a junior synonym or a nomen dubium, then 
the name can be ignored in the taxonomic sense.

> And shouldn't you? If Lulu.com is the source
> of some description you think is wrong, then don't mention
> it.

The description may be wrong; but if it conforms to the Code, then the name is