Event Date: 28 October 2011
Flett Lecture Theatre
Natural History Museum
Anchoring Biodiversity Information:
From Sherborn to the 21st century and beyond
Daphne Fautin and Miguel Alonso-Zarazaga
LANs: Lists of Available Names – a new generation for stable taxonomic names in zoology?
Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Curator, Natural History Museum (Biodiversity Institute) University of Kansas, USA & ICZN
Depto. de Biodiversidad y BiologÌa Evolutiva Museo Nacional de Ciencias
Naturales Jose Gutierrez Abasca, Madrid, Spain (MNCN-CSIC) & ICZN
Article 79 of the ICZN Code, which appeared first in the Fourth Edition, outlines a procedure for adding large numbers of names to the List of Available Names simultaneously, as a Part of the List. This feature has gained importance with the development of Zoobank, because the LAN can be an important adjunct to or component of Zoobank. Article 79 describes a deliberative process, detailing steps for submission and for consideration by the public and Commission, and their chronology: submission must be by ìan international body of zoologists,î and the proposed Part must be available for ìcomments by zoologistsî for 12 months, followed by another 12-month period for comments on the proposed Part as revised in light of comments received. However, Article 79 it is mute about the contents of the submission. It is clear that adding a Part to the List will prevent long-forgotten names from displacing accepted ones ñ thus, for taxa on the List under the provisions of Article 79, nomenclatural archeology will not be worthwhile. Beyond that, Commissioners who participated in writing the Fourth Edition are divided about the intent of Article 79: some aver it is intended to document every available name within the scope of the Part, others it is to pare the inventory of names within the scope of the Part. The comprehensiveness of the names in the Part is critical because, according to Article 79.4.3, ìNo unlisted name within the scope (taxonomic field, ranks, and time period covered) of an adopted Part of the List of Available Names in Zoology has any status in zoological nomenclature despite any previous availabilityî (names may subsequently be added only ìin exceptional circumstances,î according to Article 79.6). Under the first interpretation, the Part functions as a strictly nomenclatural archive. Under the second interpretation, the Part pares away nomina dubia, so Parts of the List resulting from actions under Article 79 are like the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names that took effect on 1 January 1980 ñ taxonomically recognizable as well as nomenclaturally available. It is critical that a consistent basis for implementing Article 79 be adopted; it is unrealistic to expect unanimity, given the diversity of opinion among those who helped craft Article 79.