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Re: [dinosaur] Oculudentavis again

Ben Creisler

Some points I was trying to make were evidently not understood, probably because I didn't go into detail. My concern has been for an odd kind of "nomen dubium" status for Oculudentavis--the name was available as published and met the ICZN requirements initially but the original diagnostic description technically lost its status as usable when the paper was "retracted" entirely rather than corrected (or only retracted in part, it that option existed, as suggest in the Science magazine item I cited). In theory then, the paper should not be cited nor itsÂcontents used in scientific literature.ÂÂ

I perfectly understand what the ICZN means by a "valid" name, which is a purely nomenclatural concept (although the term "valid taxon" is widely but erroneous used, and typically means a taxon that is recognized (by somebody) as adequately described, defined, and diagnosed as distinct from other recognized taxa, regardless of the name it gets).Â

My point was simply that once the description of the new specimen is formally published (after peer review) in a journal that still accepts Burmese amber research, if the authors use the name Oculudentavis and Âcite the holotype from the original authors, that would seem to settle the matter--provided THEIR paper is not retracted for some reason and the two specimens actually belong to the same species of animal (I've seen some hesitation on that detail in a few places). If other authors, however, choose not to cite the new paper (or the original paper) because of ethical issues with the amber source, things could still remain messy.

On Sun, Aug 16, 2020 at 12:46 PM David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:
Gesendet:ÂSamstag, 08. August 2020 um 19:49 Uhr
Von:Â"Ben Creisler" <bcreisler@gmail.com>

>ÂWe will see what the authors of the new description do with the name. If they decide to use Oculudentavis, then the name would be valid in the full sense with a non-retracted description and phylogenetic analysis (as opposed to being published as an available name but with a possibly unusable [retracted] diagnostic description).

I can only repeat how obvious it seems to me, and evidently to Peter Paul van Dijk, that diagnoses/descriptions cannot be undone by calling them retracted. Only the Commission can declare an otherwise published work as "to be treated as unpublished" â the publisher cannot, and the authors cannot either.

"Valid", by the way, means something else under the ICZN. (The choice of terms is quite confusing; I messed this up myself in the original submission of the latest paper I contributed to and only caught it during revision.) A name is "valid" if it is the name that ought to be used, meaning it is "available" and has precedence over all objective synonyms, subjective synonyms and homonyms. (Which names are its subjective synonyms is a taxonomic matter, not a nomenclatural one.) A name is "available" if it is properly published and has precedence over all homonyms. (This is a purely nomenclatural matter.)

> Some details of their original description of the skull would still be accurate enough to establish a distinct and diagnosable taxon.

As Mickey M said, that doesn't matter, because diagnoses/descriptions don't need to be accurate. (If they needed to be accurate, hardly any name would survive more than a few years after all.) Quote:

"13.1. Requirements

To be available, every new name published after 1930 must satisfy the provisions of Article 11 and must

13.1.1. be accompanied by a description or definition that states in words characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon, or

13.1.2 [...] [by a citation of the above], or

13.1.3 be proposed expressly as a new replacement name (nomen novum) for an available name [...]."

The "purported" bit means that only the intention needs to be there (and, I suppose, obvious enough).

> Note that just because a name was registered with Zoobank, there may still be objections and problems. The "outlaw" self-published Australian herpetologist Raymond Hoser has published dozens of new generic names that show up as validly published in some databases (including Zoobank), but the vast community of academic herpetologists has worked hard to avoid ever citing his work or using his names. There has even been an appeal to the ICZN to invalidate his publications.

As Mickey M said, the appeal exists precisely because Hoser's names (generic, specific and other) _are_ available. The Commission has a choice of declaring Hoser's works unpublished, or the names unavailable, or the names to lack precedence over junior synonyms where such exist â but nobody else can do even one of these things according to the letter of the Code.


> Note that this needs to be formally published in a journal to establish the use of the name Oculudentavis based on the original holotype.

No. The original paper, despite its retraction, establishes the _name_ Oculudentavis based on the original holotype; the _use_ of the name does not need to be established. The Code deals in legalities and legal fictions, not in real usage, except where it explicitly says otherwise.

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