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RE: Having your ideas published without attribution, and having your names with priority ignored



Mickey Mortimer wrote:


<<<Honestly, the flouting of the ICZN isn't my biggest worry. As you say, none 
of us uses Deinodontidae (though we should!).>>>

to which David Marjanovic replied:

<<Aren't Deinodontidae and Atlantosauridae nomina oblita? If not, I'm sure a 
petition to suppress them (and Ornithodesmidae) would quickly be successful.>>

  Unless this has already occurred (I do not know). I am not wont to use 
"Deinodontidae" though would for technical reasons because I am wont to 
disregard the existence of ranks: If my clade name has an ending in -idae, it 
stands as a suggestion (a strong one) that this name is "Family-rank," but it 
needn't necessarily be. I must specifically designate that it is such, or have 
it revised to such, for it to BE a rank: That's why the ICZN gets all finicky 
about using explicit construction rules in it's "intent to name" sections.

  I'm willing to concede that *Deinodontidae* is the valid clade name that 
replaces the next available -idae clade name that is in use that contains the 
taxon *Deinodon horridus,* and I'm fairly certain that includes *Albertosaurus 
sarcophagus* or *Tyrannosaurus rex*. However, when you are using systematic 
nomenclature based on what is almost universally considered a "nomen dubium," 
that further nomenclature should not be used. It doesn't matter that I can 
quantitatively place *horridus* within what is called *Tyrannosauridae*, and by 
extension this should be *Deinodontidae*, but that *horridus* is not a 
necessarily "valid" name, and taxa for which it is the type should not be 
considered as competing for priority. This is a pretty firm conclusion, as the 
ICZN says diddly about "nomina dubia," but as I've railed on here and on my 
blog, this also gives me some room to waffle, too: the ICZN is willing to 
suppress nomenclature when it is based on such, why not here?

<...Speaking of the ICZN... Jaime, I haven't forgotten our discussion about 
*Jeholornis primus*, I just haven't found enough time yet. Just so much: 
"prima" cannot be a noun in apposition, _because it isn't a noun_. It's an 
ordinal number, and those work exactly like adjectives (indeed, the distinction 
is artificial for Indo-European languages), agreeing with the noun they refer 
to in gender, number and case. The whole thing just means "the first 
*Jeholornis*".>

  Don't worry. You can pretend for now that (as someone once said of me) I am 
arguing for the sake of arguing. I am trying to see if my reading (in that 
arcane codex written in another world's language) is correct: You and I 
disagree so far, and that's fine. I am willing to accept that *prima* needs to 
be emended, but my understanding is that when the word is used in apposition, 
and treated as a noun in this case, it is to be presumed so. The Fourth 
Edition, unlike the Third, has lost a lot of language instructing automatic 
change, thus making firm a lot of errors so long as they are not the work of 
the publisher/editor/typesetter, etc. It is almost inconceivable to think in 
the era of spellcheckers and computers used to write everything that a lapsus 
can occur so easily now: we can usually correct it. I just do not think that 
misuse of the Latin or Greek languages for systematic nomenclature should be 
automatically altered, however egregious it is to those of us who care (and I 
do). I take the stance that *prima* was intended by the authors, though 
*primus* should have been used, and that other faults we would like to correct 
but cannot is a pity.

  It merely reinforces to me that the ICZN is a dinosaur (pardon me) and should 
swiftly die, to be replaced by something more cohesive, less arcane, more 
intelligent, and more seeking to permit flexibility where it was designed to 
instead protect sacred cows of authors who wouldn't want to be upstaged by 
their lessers. Systematic nomenclature by itself needs a rule book, bereft of 
ranks but inclusive of them (for those that want them) and, with a single set 
of construction principles. But the thing is, sloppy Latin and Greek should not 
be on the list of autocorrections: what you publish, you keep. Let that shame 
be borne by authors as a lesson in the future. We get to wag our fingers at 
them, too.

Cheers,

  Jaime A. Headden
  The Bite Stuff (site v2)
  http://qilong.wordpress.com/

"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 
Backs)