Comments on the proposed conservation of usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines) 16

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Ng, PKL
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Volume:66
Issue:2
Start Page:183
Pagination:183
Date Published:06/2009
Type of Article:Comment
ISSN:0007-5167
Full Text

I agree with the application; the constant ‘to-ing and fro-ing’ with
names, dealing with the fog of history and conjectures about original
intent is not helpful. The uncertainties of the old literature and old
missing, mislabelled or dubiously labelled specimens will not be easily
solved and the debate is rather pointless. Even though I am not a
herpetologist here are the facts as I see them: we know there is a
species of Aldabra tortoise and we know it is endangered and it needs
one unambiguous name. I agree that gigantea is the name
normally associated with it, and I have seen this in almost all major
conservation documents and other papers I have read. The logical thing
is therefore to keep this name for the species, recognise the neotype
as selected by Frazier, and suppress all other purported type material,
even if later shown to be so. This will convey the stability necessary
for the biologists to move ahead with the much needed conservation
efforts in keeping the species alive. It matters not what Schweigger’s
(1812) original intent or specimen was. Sentiments and history aside,
the name used now and for practical purposes is what matters. The
subgenus name is a less clear-cut case, although the name itself
suggests its conservation will cause fewer problems – but that is
another matter as I suspect genus concepts will change even more in the
future.

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith