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Re: Is *Duriatitan* published? was Re: Is *Duriasaurus* published? was Re: Andesaurus redescribed

On Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 10:41 AM, Mickey Mortimer
<mickey_mortimer111@msn.com> wrote:

> In other words, the ICZN merely serves to provide the illusion we follow
> objective standards when the reality is basically a popularity contest where
> technically valid names can be ignored.

Well, that's a cynical take on it, but in essence true.  I would point
out that the vast majority of names do follow the 'objective
standards' of the Code, and it's only a tiny percentage of names that
fall into a gray area.  Unless a petition is submitted to the ICZN,
then the 'gray' names do indeed become subject to a popularity

Also, the 'objective standards' are not really objective at all.  As I
said in a previous message, the actual rules as presented in the Code
are a gray area in themselves.  We could argue until the cows come
home about whether certain publications meet the criteria of a valid
publication, because the Code is vague and ambiguous on this point.
So when it comes to these publications, the ICZN standards are fairly
subjective.  I have a hunch this is deliberate.  The ICZN doesn't want
its "In" tray to be piled up with petitions regarding which names are
valid or not, based on quality of the publication.  So the ICZN lets
those at the coalface sort it out for themselves.

> As an additional example of this I just found out about- Diplodocidae should 
> be
> Atlantosauridae.

You see, I don't think Atlantosauridae should trump Diplodocidae,
because  Atlantosauridae is based on a nomen dubium.  Maybe the Code
would prefer that Atlantosauridae is the 'correct' name for this
family.  If so, I don't care.  Otherwise, using your reasoning, we
would use Deinodontidae instead of Tyrannosauridae... and that's just

>  But nobody will care, or even petition the ICZN (as would be proper to 
> maintain
> the more recent names), because we know we can (collectively) get away with
> doing what we want without following the rules.  What a system!

Yep.  Somehow it works.  With the conventions of PhyloCode being
introduced by stealth into dinosaur taxonomy, this isn't a big
problem.  Families are now just a kind of clade, and all clades are
defined phylogenetically.  I can't imagine anyone defining a clade
using _Atlantosaurus_ (or _Deinodon_), so it's a moot point.  When it
comes to family-level taxa, the world has moved on from the ICZN.  I
think this is a positive step.

David Marjanovic wrote:

> Somebody should definitely sit down and rewrite the whole thing to be legible,
> as was done with the prokaryote code in 1990. In the process, the ambiguities,
> contradictions and absurdities should be brought to the Committee's attention.

Nice idea, but I'll never happen.  It would be nice if what
constitutes a valid publication would be spelled out clearly, perhaps
with the requirement for peer review, and a ban placed on
self-publication for the purposes of nomenclature.