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Re: A question for zoonomenclaturists

Thank you for your detailed answer, Ben.

I understand that the Code has to put up with the dog Latin used by too many taxonomists, but what seemed important to me in this case was that the specific name is founded expressly on - and only on - a Latin verb. It cannot be considered as an arbitrary - and euphonious - combination of characters as Gray's names were.

The species name in question was created from the infinitive form of a Latin verb of the second conjugation, similar to "doceo", with the masculine/neuter genitive ending "-i", as something similar to "docerei".

In short, here is what the original author stated in his paper:

GENUS Whatyamacallitodon
Derivation. From "Whatyamacallit" and "odon", for "tooth" (masculine).

TYPE SPECIES Whatyamacallitodon docerei
Derivation. From "docere", for "to teach".

He himself recognized that it was an infinitive and not a participle, a name, an adjective, or a substantive, as he should have done according to Article 11.9.1, given that this name comes from Latin.

However, after giving it more thoughts, it seems that the answer was in my question - silly me! Article states indeed how a species name derivating from “a Latin or latinized word must be, or BE TREATED". In fact, the Code seems to care of latinization ONLY if it was originally done properly, in which case the Latin endings must be used. Otherwise, the Code doesn't care. You just have to treat other species name as if they had been constructed following the not-so-Latin linguistic rules.

Here, the specific epithet "docerei" may be treated as a substantive with a genitive ending, following Article

What do you think about this, Ben? Is it allright with you?
And you, dear DMLers ?

Have a good night,

PS: French is full of awful dog Latin terms. Compare the singular and plural forms of these words: fémur/fémurs, humérus/humérus, tibia/tibias, sacrum/sacrums. It annoys me a lot, so... sometimes, I prefer to write in English rather than in French. That and my Citation Index, of course. ;-)

Le 21/09/2013 17:25, Ben Creisler a écrit :
From: Ben Creisler

Without knowing the example in question in detail, I have the
following comments.

The specific name can probably be left as-is.

The ICZN allows names that are arbitrary combinations of letters,
which would apply to species as well as genera. For example, the
reptile generic names Morelia Gray, Morenia Gray, and Morethia Gray
appear to be simply euphonic combinations of letters that sound like
Greek and Latin, but in fact do not appear to be from Greek or Latin
roots or named for actual people or places. If you named a parasite
species that was only found on species of each genus, you could add a
genitive ending such as  "moreliae," "moreniae," "morethiae."

In terms of formation, the species names is correctly formed with a
genitive ending even though the generic etymology is from a
combination of letters and not derived from a legitimate Latin word or
from a real proper name.

  If, for example, someone took the Latin verb *pugno*- infinitive
*pugnare" "fight"  and created a species name "pugnari" supposedly as
a noun in the genitive case intended to mean "of a fight" because the
specimen showed evidence of injury, it would be bad Latin but I think
it would have to be accepted under ICZN rules. (In fact, in correct
Latin *pugnari" would be the spelling for the passive infinitive
meaning "to be fought".)

Zoological nomenclature is rife with examples of garbled Latin
formations that ignore the different noun declensions, correct word
stems, etc. I could list many, but they have been left as-is in the
scientific literature.

I suppose this comes down to the difference between Neo-Latin and
conventional Latin. In Neo-Latin popular usage, the 2nd declension
plural form "octopi" has been widely used for "octopus" (a third
declension noun in Latin and Greek) instead of the correct 3rd
declension plural "octopodes." Technically, it's bad Latin but people
get the idea.

On Sat, Sep 21, 2013 at 5:57 AM, Jocelyn Falconnet
<j.falconnet@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi everyone,

I got a question about zoological nomenclature. If anyone could help me out,
that would be very nice !

Here is the jest:

1/ A new genus and its new type species were published a few months ago.

2/ The type and only species was expressly formed from a Latin verb in the
infinitive form, to which was added the masculine/neuter genitive ending -i.

This name is not only incorrect in Latin, but it also regarding the Code.
Article 11.9.1 of the Code requires indeed that “a Latin or latinized word
[it] *MUST* be, or be treated as, an adjective or participle in
the nominative singular […], or a noun in the nominative singular
standing in apposition to the generic name […], or a noun in the
genitive case […], or an adjective used as a substantive in the
genitive case and derived from the specific name of an organism with which
the animal in question is associated” to be considered as available.

According to this article, the species is therefore not available.

3/ Now, even if its description follows the requirements of the ICZN, is the
genus name available ?

There are rules regarding the designation of a type species from the
originally included ones or from the first to have been included in the
genus (if the genus was erected all alone)... but I don't know what to do in
this particular case.

What do you think about it ?


"As a Professor of Science, I assure you we did in fact evolve from filthy
monkey men." Hubert J. Farnworth.

"As a Professor of Science, I assure you we did in fact evolve from filthy monkey men." Hubert J. Farnworth.