The fate of the early adopters

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.cri.nz
Fri Sep 17 02:58:10 EST 1999


Dr Jacob van der Land wrote:
> Nishikawa's discovery (1998) that Echiuridae Blainville, 1828 is not available 
> and should correctly be cited as Echiuridae Quatrefages, 1847, is indeed 
> somewhat disturbing.

The early namings are a lovely mess, and  few would want to wade through 
it checking each detail to make a decision on the family name. But 
Nishikawa made a very good job of presenting the story.  The interesting 
thing is that seemingly BOTH Thalassema AND Echiurus became scaled up 
in a rather dubious fashion from vernacular names derived from the 
epithets within (all-encompassing) genus Lumbricus, so  we now have 
tautonymous Thalassema thalassemum and Echiurus echiurus.    

Rest easy Echiuridae fans - I believe that in the new code published last 
month a new article, 35.5. Precedence [post 1999] for [family-group] 
names in [prevailing] use at higher rank, will mean Echiuridae will become  
safe to use as long as Echiuridae and Thalassematidae remain synonyms 
at family-group level.    

> I do not agree with Geoff''s statement "Above the family level can be a 
> degree of anarchy and creativity, and nobody minds much". This is a great 
> nuissance to the user community. 

I think I now agree with Jacob :-). Change is painful. At the time I had in 
mind  the fun zone between family and class in annelids which up till now 
we could usually ignore because it had little practical use.  But, even so 
change is inevitable when the evidence is clear that some of our past 
constructs in and of various phyla are artificial or baseless.  

> It cost Cnidaria over 40 years to take over from Coelenterata  

I checked Zoo Rec this morning - Coelenterata still rules in the 1998 
volume. Zoo Rec is very conservative in such matters. I think they have 
some statement to the effect that they move only when a change is 
unchallenged. Vestimentifera, Pogonophora, Echiura, and a host of minor 
far-out others, will march on; it being easier to create names than to 
destroy or supplant them.    

--
  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>


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