Latin diagnoses

Nicholas S. Lander nickl at HERB.CALM.WA.GOV.AU
Fri Oct 27 05:53:12 CET 1995

There has been much discussion of later concerning the requirement by 
the ICBN for Latin diagnoses where new taxa are formally named.

Perhaps the time has come, as Mike Dallwitz has hinted, to revise the 
ICBN so that it requires instead that any new taxon be accompanied by a 
DELTA-coded description and/or diagnosis. This would have the merit of 
being readily and mechanically translated into virtually any language. 
This scheme could be greatly enhanced by the adoption of a set of 
standard descriptors such as that Richard Pankhurst et al. are working 
on for flowering plants. However, the latter is by no means essential.

Of course a public repository would have to be found for the relevant 
"characters", "specifications", "items" and other data files. These 
could be accessed by establishing a unique Home Page for each taxon so 
treated. I think it was Jim Croft (ANBG) who suggested quite some time 
ago that each and every taxon might have its own Internet address. 
Perhaps the latter could be made the formal (ie scientific) name, and 
Latin names (or those in other languages, dead or alive) would be come 
rather like colloquial names are now.

Nicholas S. Lander
Principal Research Scientist, WA Herbarium - CALM
Email: nickl at  Voice: +61 9 334 0487  Fax: +61 9 334 0515

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