Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nice fossil, shame about the name...

Poor Darwinius, getting all this attention that it can never possibly live up to. Thankfully, a number of blogs out there are offering good summaries and the straight dope on the significance of the fossil. Just to add another fly in the ointment, I must sadly report that the name may become a problem due to it's being published in an online-only journal.

According to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature:

Article 8.6 Works produced after 1999 by a method that does not employ printing on paper. For a work produced after 1999 by a method other than printing on paper to be accepted as published within the meaning of the Code, it must contain a statement that copies (in the form in which it is published) have been deposited in at least 5 major publicly accessible libraries which are identified by name in the work itself.

I see no evidence in the original paper that this condition has been met. Thus, under the rules of the ICZN, the name Darwinius may not be considered considered "published".
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