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Re: Platecarpus tympaniticus - how to analyze a nomen dubium

On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 2:57 AM, Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com> wrote:
> It's worse than you think. ÂSo far as the PhyloCode is concerned
> authorship of the rank-based taxon and the homonymous clade are
> completely separate, so whatever definition I used of Ceratopsia when
> defining it as a PhyloCode-govered clade, it would be Ceratopsia
> Taylor 201X. ÂThe code suggests an authority-mentioning scheme that is
> something like Ceratopsia Taylor 201X [Marsh 1890], which goes some
> way to towards addressing this.

Now it's my turn to correct you. That was true in the first draft of
the code, but it has long since been remedied. See Art. 20:

If you were to convert Ceratopsia Marsh 1890 into a clade name, it
would be cited in full as Ceratopsia Marsh 1890 [Taylor 201X]. If I
were to then emend the definition, it would be cited in full as
Ceratopsia Marsh 1890 [Taylor 201X] {Keesey 202X}.

And, lest you think you could get away with "Ceratopsia [Taylor
201X]", Art. 20.4 explicitly states, "If the definitional author of a
converted name is cited, the nominal author of the preexisting name on
which it is based, if known, must also be cited."

> Worse, there seems to be no way to cite the originator of a specific
> phylogenetic definition or indeed the first explicit user of the name.
> ÂSo Marsh used the rank-based family Diplodocidae in 1884, and so is
> deemed also to have raised the superfamily Diplodocoidea (by the
> Principle of Coordination); Upchurch first used the name Diplodocoidea
> in 1995; and Wilson and Sereno defined it phylogenetically as
> (Diplodocus < Saltasaurus) in their classic 1998 monograph. ÂBut since
> that definition is not governed by the PhyloCode, it would need
> re-establishing once the code is enacted. ÂIf I did that, then the
> resulting name would be Diplodocoidea Taylor 201X [Marsh 1884], and
> neither Upchurch (1995) nor Wilson and Sereno (1998) would get any of
> the attribution love. ÂI think the idea is that the people who first
> coined a phylogenetic definition should be encouraged to be the ones
> to redefine it under the PhyloCode, but in the case of authors like
> Wilson and Sereno who are antagonistic towards the Code and explicitly
> don't wish to contribute, what can you do?

This is a good point. Perhaps Diplodocoidea Marsh 1884 [Wilson &
Sereno vide Taylor 201X]?

> I suppose the moral of all of this is that we should be less concerned
> with whose personal name appears after the taxonomic name; in
> practice, the personal name rarely if ever appears after clade names
> anyway, so this may be a bit of a red herring.

True. Citations are often used to distinguish homonyms (e.g.,
Stormbergia Seward 1911 vs. Stormbergia Butler 2005), but the
PhyloCode doesn't allow homonyms, anyway. (Dirty secret: the ICZN
allows homonyms across rank groups.)

> I was talking about Ceratopsia, but since you mention Ceratopsidae,
> there's no reason we shouldn't define it as (Triceratops horridus <-
> Protoceratops andrewsi, Leptoceratops gracilis), give the etymology as
> "horned face" (not mentioning Ceratops montanus), and move on.
> That seems obviously The Right Thing. ÂThe fact that the clade name
> happens to resemble the name of a dubious genus is neither here nor
> there.

This would run afoul of Art. 11.7.

T. Michael Keesey
Technical Consultant and Developer, Internet Technologies
Glendale, California