New species can now be named online

This video is called Learn Biology: Classification- The Taxonomic Hierarchy.

From Nature journal:

The name game

12 September 2012

After several years of wrangling, zoologists can now name new species online only.

With access to the Internet, the (official) world of animals and plants will soon be at your fingertips. In a landmark ruling, zoologists last week agreed that newly identified species can be named in online-only publications. Previously, the first official description of anything that crawled, flew, wriggled, walked or swam across Earth needed to be formally written up and recorded in print, where it would remain in perpetuity for future scientists to reference.

That made sense when Henry Fairfield Osborn described Tyrannosaurus rex in 1905; less so when Rob Gay named a new theropod, Kayentavenator elysiae, in 2010, which helps to explain why Gay broke with convention and claimed the first description of the species in a self-published print-on-demand book.

As technology blurred the distinction between what is published and what is not, some predicted online anarchy, with ‘taxonomic vandals’ taking to the Internet to self-publish reports of new species. An obvious solution to the problem would have been to extend the rules from print to cover online scientific journals, and to draw the line there. But there were concerns about whether online journals would endure. In a messy compromise, online journals that published descriptions of new species printed and bound several dozen copies of the paper — in case a twenty-second-century palaeontologist should call. In an even messier compromise, some scientists printed papers from journal websites and posted them to libraries themselves.

No more. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), which sets the rules for the naming of new species, announced on 4 September that it was relaxing its code to encompass publication in online-only publications. The change, which followed a vote of 23 in favour to 3 against, with one abstention, comes into force at the start of next year. The amendment allows for descriptions of new species in “widely accessible electronic copies with fixed content and layout”. New animal species will also need to be registered with, the official registry of the ICZN.

Many of the world’s most unfamiliar species are just sitting around on museum shelves collecting dust. That’s according to a report in the November 20th issue of the Cell Press journal Current Biology showing that it takes more than 20 years on average before a species, newly collected, will be described: here.

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University announces the 2013 Top 10 New Species List: here.

New species photos: here.

3 thoughts on “New species can now be named online

  1. Pingback: New species can now be named online | Dear Kitty. Some blog | Names, Naughty to Nice |

    • You mean the video, and the name of the mountain lion, Puma concolor, in it? The first time in the video, in Puma concolor, concolor is with small c. Only later, when it is about the species without the genus name, the video has Concolor with big C. Maybe the tendency in the English language to use capital letters far more often than, eg, French or Dutch?


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