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Published: 2019-07-02

A justified emendation for a specific nomen of shark (Chondrichthyes), with comments on some Articles of the Code

Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB – UMR 7205 – CNRS, MNHN, UPMC, EPHE, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Sorbonne Universités, 57 rue Cuvier, CP 30, 75005, Paris, France
Consultant en Ichtyologie marine, Ichtyo-Consult, 6 bis rue du Centre, 91430 Igny, France
Code Articles 32.2 33.2 and 32.5 “incorrect original spelling” “external source of information


The epithet obsolerus recently used to name a new species of shark is doubtless an “incorrect original spelling” which must be corrected into obsoletus. However, a strict respect of Article 32.5.1 of the Code would not allow this correction, as the original paper did not provide “clear evidence of an inadvertent error”, which can be established only through recourse to an “external source of information” such as a Latin dictionary. There are many other cases in zoological nomenclature where the fact that an original spelling was a misprint can be established only through recourse to the etymology of the term, which was not provided in the original work. Two such examples are given, which strongly point to the need to reconsider the wordings of Articles 32.2, 33.2 and 32.5 of the Code.