Comments on the proposed conservation of usage of Testudo gigantea Schweigger, 1812 (currently Geochelone (Aldabrachelys) gigantea; Reptilia, Testudines) 11

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Swingland, IR
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Volume:66
Issue:1
Start Page:84
Pagination:84-85
Date Published:03/2009
Type of Article:Comment
ISSN:0007-5167
Full Text

 I fully support the retention of the name Geochelone gigantea for
two reasons: i) it must retain a common usage stability which is
allowed within the ICZN rules, and ii) I am tired of constant changes
being made to the name as though it was a game, no doubt for very
legitimate taxonomic reasons. The arguments and precedents and
parsimony analysis may have produced all sorts of errors in the past
but there are many other scientists working on the chelonians in
ecology, behaviour, genetics, population studies, and other aspects of
their biology who find all this indecision and constant changing of the
Latin binomial very unhelpful to the science or the conservation of the
species. I will always use Geochelone gigantea as a matter
of principle and clarity however erroneous that is. We know what
species we are dealing with here and there is no risk of confusion to
misdirect conservation efforts; I must say the idea of fiddling about
with names, when tortoises are burning and could use our taxonomic
help, I find very distasteful. I worked on this species for 10 years,
two of which I lived on Aldabra Atoll. I was later the Founding
Chairman of the IUCN SSC Tortoise Specialist Group, and then Director
of the First World Congress of Herpetology. Please accept my total
support for this move to retain the original name in common usage.

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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