Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tree of Life/Archive 4

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Archives for WT:TOL edit

1 2002-07 – 2003-12 Article names
2 2003-11 – 2004-02 Taxoboxes
3 2004-02 Taxoboxes
4 2004-02 – 2004-08 Bold taxa; taxonomy
5 2004-03 – 2004-04 Taxonomy; photos; range maps
6 2005-04 – 2004-06 Capitalization; authorities; mammals
7 2004-06 – 2004-08 Creationism; parens; common names
8 2004-05 – 2004-08 Templates; †extinct; common names
9 2004-05 – 2004-08 Categories; taxoboxes
10 2004-08 – 2004-12 Categories; authorities; domains; Wikispecies; ranks; G. species; capitalization; Common Names
11 2004-11 – 2005-05 Capitalization; common names; categories; L.; authorities; algae; cultivars
12 2005-03 – 2005-05 Ranks; common names
13 2005-05 – 2005-06 Hybrids; taxobox format; cultivars
14 2005-06 – 2005-07 Categories; food plants; identification; Capitalization
15 2005-07 – 2005-09 Synonyms; types; authorities; status; identification
16 2005-09 – 2005-12 Paleontological ranges; Rosopsida; Taxobox redesign; identification
17 2005-12 – 2006-04 Taxobox redesign; identification; APG; common names; capitalization
18 2006-04 – 2006-10 Categorization; include in references; snakes; range maps; seasonality graph; common names; bioregions; brya;
19 2006-10 – 2007-03 various
20 2007-03 – 2007-06 various
21 2007-06 (Next 64 Kb) various
22 (Next 64 Kb) various
23 (Next 64 Kb) various
24 (Next 64 Kb) various

Summary of adding status to taxobox discussion[edit]

It was decided to introduce a status to the species taxobox. The status should appear the line below the species name (by using a <br> tag) and be colour-coded according to the schema listed to the left. There are custom MediaWiki messages available to make this easier (see Wikipedia:MediaWiki custom messages).

Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea
Secure Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea
Vulnerable Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea
Endangered Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea
Critical Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea
Extinct in the wild Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea
Extinct Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea
Unclassified Animalia Plantae Fungi Protista Bacteria Archaea

To Bold Genus, or Not To Bold Genus[edit]

Yellow Oriole
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Oriolidae
Genus: Oriolus
Species: flavocinctus
Binomial name
Oriolus flavocinctus
Olive-backed Oriole
Oriolus sagittatus 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Oriolidae
Genus: Oriolus
Species: sagittatus
Binomial name
Oriolus sagittatus

While we are improving the infoboxes, a small matter. This only applies to species-level boxes. Some people like to bold the genus and species and bold the binomial name. (See example at right.) Others (I am one) see this as overkill and prefer to look of the box with only the last instance of the binomial name bolded. (See example at left.)

My view is that we already bold the full binomial name in the box, and that this is quite sufficient. Where the species happens to have a particularly long binomial name, it stands out like the dog's proverbials.

Naturally, we should retain the bolding for higher taxa, where there is no binomial name section.


Tannin 22:12, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree we could reduce the bolding a bit. -- WormRunner 22:23, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

(Pasting in Josh's last edit that did something really weird to the page format)

Bolding is supposed to be used to mark the group under discussion. That is, the genus should be bolded on the genus page, but only on the species page if it is monotypic. Personally, I think having the species name by itself should be anathaema, and would recommend adding at least the genus abbreviation. Instead of saying sagittatus we should say O. sagittatus, or even Oriolus sagittatus - it would save us the trouble of having a separate column for the binomial name.

As another note, I've added mention of the status and range map to the page. I don't think either applies to all groups, however -putting them on animal is a waste of space. Is there any concensus as to what kind of tables we should be using?

One more quick thought. When we say dinosaurs are extinct, are we really talking about conservation status? Seems to me all attempts to save them were doomed before they began. (Hope this one doesn't break things...) - Josh

Hmmmm ... We probably have to live with that ambiguity. No system is perfect. BTW, do you remember back a few years ago when DNA analysis was just taking off in a big way, and some optimists "succeeded" in extracting the DNA from 65 million year-old dinosaur bones? There was surprise all round, as it turned out that the extracted DNA was remarkably similar to present-day human DNA, prompting all sorts of speculations -- and also prompting a reanalysis of the methods used to extract the dinosaur DNA, resulting in the realisation that the actual source of it was lab contamination of the samples. In the meantime, though, there was lots of speculation that we might be able to extract the DNA from, say T. rex, and recreate the creatures -- eventually releasing them, one supposes, into the wild. Offers a whole world of possibilities, that does - such as going for a walk in the park with your wife and three kids, and coming home with one and a half. ;) Tannin 03:28, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Coming to this late, because I've been out of action for a few days.

  1. apologies to whomsoever it was who had tried this out on the gelada taxobox, from which I merrily deleted it, not having seen the above discussion. I'll put it back in a tick, if no-one else has already.
  2. Sorry to throw a spanner in the works, but I would argue strongly for using BLACK for Unclassified conservation status. The reason is that we already have several thousand taxoboxes without status information, and they all have names in black. From the reader's point of view, "Unclassified" is pretty much the same as "Unspecified by Wikipedia" - in either case s/he doesn't get any information. So we should use the same colour code for both. And we certainly don't want to give the impression that all the species we have done so far dealt with are extinct.
Fortunately, we are indeed using black for this, perhaps the above talk needs to be trimmed down - cutting out the blind alleys and circles some of us went in.
  1. I support the need to reduce links and bolding in the taxoboxes. So I'd agree with (i) eliminating links from Kingdom...Species and (ii) not bolding the binomial name in the bottom line of taxotables for species pages. I prefer the latter to the alterantive (not bolding the genus and species in the main part of the table), because it gives us a consistent convention that the taxotable bolds all and only those taxa for which the current article is the defining page. It would even work if we ever had separate pages for subspecies, varieties etc (which is quite possible in some taxa).

seglea 01:23, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I disagree with not bolding the Genus name in the taxobox listing. Consider this: It the article about genus? No, of course not, unless there is only one species. It's obviously about the species. However, what is the species name? It's Genus species or G. species. To not bold the genus name where the species name is bold acts to separate the two parts of the name. If we are not going to bold the genus name, then we must include the genus name on the species line , either in full or abbreviated, to prevent the separation. - UtherSRG 02:27, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'm all for the latter. Only bolding monotypic genera is more in line with how we handle other ranks, and including the genus on the species line is something we should probably be doing anyways. I say we take it as the new standard unless someone has any serious objections. But in this case, how valuable is the binomial name row at the end of the taxobox? - Josh
Now I'm confused. Do we have a consensus? If so what is it? Tannin
We have a concensus on bolding. The group in question should be bolded at all ranks. Thus, for Ginkgo biloba, everything from the species up to the division should be bold, but for Cyprinus carpio only the species should be. I guess it's been poorly applied, but it honestly is where the bolding comes from and what it's supposed to represent. I should probably add an example to the page if we decide to keep it, though I had described it.

Josh, would you write Genus species ? I think not. An article about a critter is about Genus species. Any place that species is bolded, Genus should likewise be bolded, and when species isn't bolded, Genus should not be bolded. If we make species bold in the taxobox listing, we should bold Genus. Putting Genus on the Genus line, and then putting G. species on the species line is not consistent with how literature and taxonomic websites generally make listings, so I'm disinclined to prefer that method, but it is acceptable only if it is considered dreadfully harmful to bold Genus in the taxobox listing. - UtherSRG 13:05, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Furthermore, I don't like bolding the word Genus (or any of the other rankings) in the taxobox. An article on Foo bar isn't about Genus. - UtherSRG 13:14, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree, Uther. (At least on the whole.) We should bold both the genus & species, or neither. The way I see it, the bolding of the binomial name is quite suficient. However, if the consensus is to bold the indvidual genus and species as well, then so be it. Consistency is good. (Unless carried to extremes, of course.)
I also would not object to doing away with the "binomial name" section entirely - i.e., just listing order: abc family: def, genus: xyz, species: uvw - after all, we still have the full binomial name in the first line of the text. I'm not mad keen on doing this (I think Josh is the chief advocate) but I would not especially object. Tannin 13:43, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Not at all. I'm an advocate (it would be a bit presumptious to say chief) of getting rid of the binomial section, and only put mention of it on the page because it's the current standard. Although, it may be noted that the text may choose not to give the binomial name because it is in the taxobox.

Now, if you guys want to change the bolding standard, that's fine with me, but you have to do so in a consistent way. In this case, that means to stop bolding monotypic taxa, because otherwise bolding non-monotypic genera is needlessly confusing. I suggest that's something you need some kind of concensus on, because somebody plainly was interested in the old standard, and if you don't get one all it will do is divorce the theory here from the practice elsewhere. Given that these changes were not discussed beforehand and are inconsistent with other standing practices, I'm reverting them for the time being.

As for saying giving the species as G. species, it's consistent with plenty of literature and taxonomic websites I've seen. Simply put, the name of the species is Genus species and not species, and we should make that clear. At the very least that's how we have to list them in the subdivisions box, and I'm not sure why you want the placement box to be different. -- Josh

That's not true. The species name is species, but it should never be given alone because it is non-specific (more than one critter can have the same species epithet), except when context already denotes the genus. In and article covering genera Bar and Baz, both with a species foo, the following is correct:

In genus Bar, the foo species is the largest. However, Baz foo is among the smallest species in existance.

Likewise, when listing an organism's taxonomic classification by ranks (as in the taxoboxes), each lin eis within the context of the line before it, so the species line is already in the context of the genus line.

It is standard (if you don't see it, fix it) to put the binomial name in the opening paragraph of the article. It is not generally acceptable to leave it off simply because it is in the taxobox.

My proposed method for bolding both Genus and species is consistent with the fact that acceptable way to talk about taxonomic ranks changes when you get to the species level. It makes sense that the method of bolding would change when you also get to that level. - UtherSRG 17:31, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

It does make sense, and it is consistent with the general form of the taxobox. What it's not consistent with is the standard for bolding other ranks, which neither you nor Tannin seems to have taken notice of. I'm not particularly attached to that standard, and in fact I'd be perfectly happy if we decided not to bold anything. But I don't want you to make a change to our policy without understanding the full consequences of that change.

If we want to require the binomial name to go in the first line of the article, that's no problem. Presumably we want this in the opening line, something of the form Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa)? If so, I'll add mention of that to this article, or one of you can.

As for you comment on the use of species names, I can't recall seeing that and I don't think it's standard. Once it's been made clear you're taking about Paracheirodon, people refer to species like P. innesi. Why would they do that if they could just say innesi? And given that the abbreviations don't make sense outside the context of a genus, why would they exist if they weren't required? I would really like to see some reference on this. -- Josh

Contrary to your summary note, Josh, I do understand your argument. I disagree with it. Understanding does not equate to agreement. Hopefully my recent summary notes will hilight my disagreement with your argument. I've added a new section ==Initial Paragraph==. That was a good suggestion. People do refer to innesi, but not as often as P. innesi (or at least it is true on the more generic level - I don't know that particular species well enough to judge! *grins*). P. innesi has the benefit of being short and unambiguous in prose. (There could well be an S. innesi. If there was a Polyneus innesi, then P. innesi would even less frequently be used.) However in a list such as is given in the taxobox, "Genus: Paracheirodon" followed by "Species: innesi" is typical or at least as typical as not, and it is the standard for Wikipedia. - UtherSRG 18:30, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

It's the other part I didn't think you understood, the bolding. Maybe I should be a little more explicit here. Contrast green sulfur bacteria, which follows the standard bolding system, with Ginkgo, which currently does not. In both cases, none of the taxa up to the level of division should be receive separate treatment, since they only contain the group in question. On green sulfur bacteria, this is apparent. On Ginkgo, it looks like a mistake, and people may well try to "fix" it. In my mind, this makes the bolding of monotypic groups a very useful thing, and your proposed approach to genera conflicts with it. There would be no way to tell if genera should be linked. So far, you haven't acknowledged this conflict as a concern.

(Above from Josh?)

You are correct. Those two pages are out of sync with each other. There's a lot of pages, and many of the original authors or subsequent maintainers may not be around. That's a part of the nature of a beast like Wikipedia. I didn't understand that it was that perspective that you were approaching things from. Thanks for explaining in more detail. I hadn't acknowledged it as a concern because I hadn't seen the problem. The pages I'd seen were either already correct, or I had already fixed.
So here's how I generally approach a page like Ginkgo. First I see a bunch of plain taxa names (not bolded, not linked). I edit the page making them all links, and do 'show preview'. If any of the links connect, I'll examine those pages to see if the connection is good or needs to be disambiguated. If it is bad, I check the level above to see what that page says about it. When I ave no further answers but still have questions, I go to the source litrature (ie a Google search) to find out the rest of my answers. In this case, I find out that all of those links should be bolded and not linked, I make the changes, hopefully remmeber to put a summary note, and save the edits. (Wikipedia is not paper moral #57: a page that conflicts with a standard should be examined as soon as possible by the person who discovers the problem, or brought to the attention of others who work on similar pages. Bah. That sucks. A page in conflict with a standard probably should be changed, so change it and do so with an understanding of the conflict. Bah. Still too preachy. Um... When stuck, be explicit when asking for help? *grins*)
Ok... now back to me. 'Cos it's all about me. *grins* The way I distinguish between a species article that is also a genus article: I don't link the genus name in the taxobox when the species is monotypic in the genus. When the genus has multiple species, the species article's genus is both bolded and linked. Why do I do this? Because it is my understanding of what is the most consistent approach to keeping the articles standardized. Yes we have the WikiProjects for that, but the Projects are a guideline, not a rigid rule, shaped by a concensus by the folks who were working on the project at the time who may be active or inactive when the issue is raised. We will always come upon situations that are not covered by the Projects. That doesn't mean we should halt work and wait for an answer, at least not all the time. And some issues won't get answered, or they are too unique (or seem as such) for them to have a definitive answer on a Project.
So that's that about that. And now I'll shutup. I hope I wasn't more obnoxious than humorous in my late night ramblings. (Yes, I'm an ugly American....) - UtherSRG 05:13, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Giving the species as G. species is typical on many other sites - NCBI and Systema Naturae are quick examples. I'll agree it isn't the wikipedia standard at the moment, but for someone proposing to change our standard, that doesn't sound much like an objection. And apparently I'm not the only one who finds just species awkward - see below. If it was just that issue on its own, I wouldn't mind so much, but since your proposal also conflicts with something else, I don't think it's a good idea.
And by the way, please stop changing the page. If people here decide that your version is better, you can change it - or I will, and never change it back again. But while changes to the standard are being disputed, don't try and make them a fait accompli. It's simply not appropriate. -- Josh

I think this discussion is getting confusing to follow. First off, let me say that I liked the old system, but just thought it was a little overbolded (Is there such a word?). If we are to change it, lets make it better. If not, let's leave it alone. I could see getting rid of the binomial section only if the bottom line in the "Scientific classification" box had the full (not abbreviated) binomial name, much as is in the ITIS listing. Otherwise leave it alone. Also, I see no reason for putting the generic abbreviation in the species line. Either write it all out and get rid of the binomial name section, or let it all stand as is and keep the binomial name section. After all, the genus is there one line up. We are not using it in isolation. As for the standard of bolding a taxon that is monotypic, since that is the current standard, I say why not. Leave it alone too. WormRunner 18:40, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

That's not the entirety of the issue, WR. Josh and I are also disagreeing on whether (on non-monotypic species) to bold the genus name in the taxobox. See my recent change history for the meta page. - UtherSRG 18:46, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Ah, well, on that particular point I could argue either way. But it seems we are getting too many points confused here. And that was my point. WormRunner 20:07, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Alt version replacing old version[edit]

Since at least one other person has started making his edits to wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/Alt, I've decided to move it with the main page. The original will be saved there until someone decides to delete it. I hope this wasn't too assuming, but there doesn't seem to have been any objections so far. -- Josh

Your version is an definite improvement, thanks - having headings tailored to the project in hand works better than sticking to a format defined for all WikiProjects that doesn't work for all project. However some detail from the old style needs to be brought across - note for example in the new version we are not explicit that common names should be capitalized at least for animals in technical articles, but that they need not be in more general articles (i.e. in articles outside of the scope of this project). There was such a fuss pinning this down as the policy for bird names a year or so ago, it would be bad to lose it from here. Also I think it would be nice to retain the list of participants. Anything else that needs to be kept? Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 17:01, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Oops, I missed the participants down the bottom there! Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 17:01, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I skipped the common name stuff because it seems to deal with formal common names, and someone claimed those were specific to birds. That doesn't quite seem to be true, but I'm still not sure how generally applicable the concept is. If you think it should be added, please do so.

I was just about to add a section extending the capitalisation convention that currently holds for birds and cetaceans to all animals... it read like this


The following policy was originally formulated for WikiProject Birds after a great deal of discussion. The policy was copied for WikiProject Cetaceans. It is proposed, and no-one has objected, to use it for all animals. No similar policy appears to have been formulated for plants and other kingdoms.

In technical articles (i.e. the sort of articles to which this project is devoted), the common name of the species is always capitalized. Thus we write

In Australia, the Common Starling is...
The blow of the Blue Whale is....
The Side-swimming Dolphin is... (note the letter after a hyphen is not upper case)

The scientific name always has an upper-case genus name and a lower-case specific name (e.g. Canis lupis).

In non-technical articles, or technical articles in other fields, there is no capitalisation requirement. E.g. an article on Dudley would say "Dudley is home to a large zoo, where vistors can see lions, tigers and giraffes."

But then I got a bit scared by this "formal common name" business too. Can anyone from the bird name wars confirm whether or not this convention is appropiate for all animals? Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:43, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)
It's appropriate for all organisims for which there are formal common names, Pete. In other words, for any group of organisms where, generally speaking, all or most members have formal common names, it is appropriate to capitalise. On the other hand, there are groups of organisms which tend either to not have common names at all, or where the organisation of their common names into formal common names (i.e., recognised, stable, more-or-less international names) is lacking, or is still on-going.
To generalise, the worldwide formalisation of common names is pretty much complete for birds, very nearly so for mammals, and in progress but incomplete for several other vertebrate groups (reptiles, fish). Various national and regional bodies have made a pretty good fist of doing it for plants as well, but as yet have not managed to coordinate their efforts, with the result that (for example) a Mountain Ash can be any of three completely different trees from different families, depending on whether you are in Europe, North America, or Australia. (This, by the way, is why I favour using botanical names for all Wikipedia plant articles (well ... nearly all - there are common-sense exceptions to be made). Common names for plants are just too contradictory. You could do all the plants of Australia with common names, or (probably) all those of the UK, or several other places, but an international listing is, at present, doomed to conflict and ambiguity. Try again in 20 years.)
Here is another way to tell if we are talking about a formal commion name or not: ask yourself "if I write the formal common name of this species, is it reasonable to expect that most readers with a knowledge of the field will know exactly which species I mean?" For example, writing BLUE WREN will not indicate an exact species, unless you also indicate the geographical area in question, as there are a good half-dozen birds commonly known as the BLUE WREN. On the other hand, SPLENDID FAIRY-WREN is precise: it can only mean Malurus splendens. Tannin

Molecular systematics[edit]

I'd be very grateful if people interested in WikiProject Tree of Life could have a look at the new page I have put up on molecular systematics - and read its talk page (preferably before modifying the article, though that's just vanity talking). I am hoping this page will give us a useful anchor point for talking about the revisions to taxonomy the molecular work is causing, but I am not a true expert in the field and I may have got things wrong - I believe it is an important article, so I would value everyone's help to get it right. seglea 01:10, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Very interesting and good article. I think it could differentiate more clearly between cladistics and the molecular analysis technique. The technique can help us distinguish clades, but the concepts predate the technique, as does the controversy between cladistics and traditional taxonomy. WormRunner 01:35, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I've tried to do that now. seglea 05:06, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)
It's a good article. Were I to change it, it would be to add some of the criticisms of molecular systematics (mostly that it should be tempered with morphological traits). - Josh
Josh, please go ahead and make those changes - I don't know enough about the critiques to do it. There's an obvious place at the end of the article where criticisms could go, perhaps with a new heading. seglea 05:06, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)
While you are at it, Josh, you may care to tie in with links to DNA-DNA hybridisation and Charles Sibley. In the case of the former, a merge is possible, though I'm inclined to think that the current two page arrangment is probably better. Tannin
I've done a link to and from DNA-DNA hybridisation, and explained how it fits in. I've also noted a couple of critiques that are obvious to me, but they may not be the most current ones. seglea 01:31, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

About taxoboxes.[edit]

I have some issues with the taxoboxes as they are used. When you look at a subspecies like dingo, you get the impression that lupus is a species. It is not. There may be many a genus with a lupus. To be correct the species is either C. lupus or Canis lupus the same is true for a subspecies variety and form, they can be C. l. familiaris or Canis lupus familiaris.

Up to the level of Genus names on that level are unique. After that the full name is required.

The combo box is there to provide information on the subject matter. So if you are talking about the wolf, you define wolf Canis lupus. If you consider to name everything that is under it, you need to specify 38 subspecies. Not a good idea and you don't. When you have the Lemuridae you specify 4 genuses in the taxobox and they are not mentioned in the body of the text which makes the meat of the matter less clear.

My argument is to specify what the story is about and leave ALL subsequent taxons in the body of the text. That makes for a consistent approach. Under the taxobox things like a distribution map can be added. like with the common raven. Taxonomy is about a set structure, so if you specify taxonomy, it is like:

  • family:
    • subfamily:
      • genus:
        • species:
      • genus:
        • species:

It helps to always include the taxon. With Passerine I do not know from the structure what level they are talking about after the suborder..

NB I understand that I may open up old wounds but to me the "rules" are not consistent and they are applied in a wrong manner. It does not help either that when I try to do some work, it is changed without explanation (in my eyes for the worse) just "because we do it that way". That does exclude me and, in the nl:wikipedia we do things differently. GerardM 18:46, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Again... lupus standing on its own is incorrect. However it isn't on its own in a taxobox. Before the line "Species: lupus" comes the line "Genus: Canis". The Genus name is Canis. The Species epithet is lupus. The Species name is Canis lupus. It is acceptable and correct to use only the epithet in the taxobox because it is unambiguous in all regards.
However, I do agree with you that the Genera should be included in the classification listing in the article's text. The listing shoudl look like this, though:
On Passerine: There are more than just 'sub-' and 'super-' rankings between some rankings. 'infra-' is a smaller grouping than 'sub-' and 'parv-' is smaller than 'infra-'.
Parenthetically, the taxobox at Wolf was a bit outdated. I've updated it some. Should have a note to see text for subspecies. - UtherSRG 19:17, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Look. This point, whether to include the genus on the species line, is clearly something we can go either way on: some sources do it (e.g. NCBI, Systema Naturae), and others don't (e.g. uBio). So we should decide which has better support. I support including the genus abbreviation, and apparently Gerard does as well. You plainly don't, but insist on changes to the bolding standard without it. Does anyone else have an opinion? -- Josh

As I stated above (we really are getting things scattered here) I think if we put the binomial name on the species line, it should be the full taxonomic binomial name (with authority as in the ITIS listings). Otherwise have the separate binomial box. -- WormRunner 20:12, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)
As there such things as subspecies and varieties they need there place. As trinominals have a common name dog for instance. There is a need to include the taxon as in plants there are varieties that are part of a subspecies but do not need to be.. GerardM 20:34, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Trinomial names aren't a problem - any approach we decide to take for species can be turned into an approach for subspecies easily enough. Listing genera in the article is ok with me, but it makes it stupid to list them again in the taxobox. At the moment we seem to be allowing both, and for the time being I think we should stick with that.

Looking back at the above, I think I've missed something. UtherSRG has given a convincing enough argument that species names don't need to be prefixed with the genus name in the taxobox. In that case, we shouldn't start doing it without a good reason. But the conflict between the bolding standards being used and the ones Uther says we need seem like a good enough reason to me, especially since he requires the pages to be changed anyways. Beyond simple economy, is there any good reason to avoid prefixing? I haven't noticed it in the above. -- Josh

Yes: two. (a) It's ugly. (b) The genus is given immediately above anyway. Tannin
More generally, Josh, the point I originally raised was my view that we over-do the bolding in the species-level boxes. You keep talikng about and giving examples from family/order/whatever level boxes: this is, I think, why the discussion above is so messy and confusing. Look up at the top of this page: there is a pair of example boxes illustrating my query there. Can we deal with that question please, and then (if you wish) move on to other types of boxes? Tannin
I agree with both Tannin's comments above. Also, we keep coming round to the issue of why list descendants both in the article and in the taxobox? The answer I always have in mind is that the taxobox is a summary of (some aspects of) the contents of the article, not a replacement for them (and like a table or figure in a scientific paper, it needs to be comprehensible without reference to the text). It gives a limited subset of information in a standard format. So in the taxobox, we list descendants at one level down, only, and we give their systematic names, only. In the article, we often go down two or more levels, we nearly always give common names for descendant taxa (where they exist), and we sometimes give other information about descendant taxa, such as distribution. Agreed, an article which simply has a list of descendants that is identical to the one in its taxobox looks silly. But it isn't silly - it's a stub, waiting for fuller information about the descendants to be added.
That does raise a new (!) issue about taxoboxes. Where do we link to descendant taxa? At the moment we most often do it in the body of the article, and not in the taxobox; it would be more consistent to always do it in the taxobox, since we always link to the parent taxa there. That makes an important function of the taxobox clear - it is where you go if you want to move quickly up or down the phylogeny.
That argument probably does imply that we should be willing to add a section for subspecies/varieties etc below the binomial name section of a species-level taxobox, where they are important enough to have their own pages.
seglea 22:39, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I've been giving examples that aren't species because I'm more familiar with them. I think my initial statement was clear - our current policy is, at least in theory, to bold the species line, to bold the genus line if it only includes the species in question, and likewise for every higher group. Everybody happy? The problem was that everybody wasn't happy.

UtherSRG wanted the genus bolded as well, though as I've tried to explain, this is inconsistent with the treatment of other ranks. Not the treatment of taxoboxes for other ranks, but the treatment of other ranks within the species taxoboxes. Nobody else seems to have concerned themselves with this point. As UtherSRG's own statement was that if the genus can't be bolded, it should be repeated or abbreviated in the species row, I thought that might be the least upsetting to everyone involved - especially since I'm not the only one who thinks it's a good idea on its own. Apparently, however, the concept is heretical beyond any consideration to everyone else, though they don't mind repeating the genus again a line or two later.

Given that, we have a choice between leaving Uther's concerns completely unaddressed and abandoning the bolding standard. This is what I was trying and failing to get opinions on. Perhaps I should have just made up a concensus myself - I guess the talk page would have been a lot cleaner if I hadn't attempted to discuss anything. I'm not quite sorry I tried yet, but there's still plenty of time for that to change. Is there anything else you'd like to blame me for? -- Josh

P.S. Incidentally, linking to several levels of descendant taxa (rather than just those one level down) is a bad idea, both in the taxobox and the article. This is because the multiplication of information is not very useful - it would always be a click or two away - but the multiplication of difficulties is devastating. For instance, should it turn out a genus has been misplaced, several pages would need to be updated, and chances are some will be missed, resulting in confused and inconsistent pages. The same applies to most other information about descendants. We don't need to list the mayors of all French cities on the country page. It may be noted that outside certain groups like the mammals, pages don't greatly discuss descendant taxa anyways. Apologies for discussing this in the wrong place, but I'm not the one who brought it up.

I agree that going more than one level down is in itself not a great idea. BUT there are plants with subspecies and varieties that are BOTH one level down from the species. Consequently if you give one level down that you have a mix of two taxons leaving out plants of the lower taxon that are in a listed higher taxon. Now that is confusing. So I would NOT have descendants in the taxobox and have the formatted information in the main body. Then again. There are Primary taxons and secundary taxons. I could argue that it makes sense to list down to the next primary level. GerardM 10:16, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Just so. The next primary level is the current standard, and a good one. There are exceptions, however:

  • (a) Where there is no next primary level (i.e., in an article about a single species, where we substitute the "Binomial Name boxlet).
  • (b) Where listing the next primary level is impracticable or otherwise pointless. Consider, for example, trying to list the next primary level in an article about the genus Eucalyptus: the taxobox would be 600-odd lines long!

A case can often be made, on pages of this nature, for listing some intermediate level instead. (Superfamilies, subfamilies, and so on.) But that is a judgement call, and best left to the people actually working on that particular article.

I don't think we should try to micro-manage too much. Hard and fast fixed rules always wind up needing exceptions, and then there are exceptions to the exceptions, and so on. I do think that we should have guidelines, which can be modified to suit special cases as and when needed. (This is, of course, exactly what we have already.)

Rough rule of thumb? List the next level down unless it is impracticable. More than about 6 or 10 lines is probably too much. In these cases, just write: Species: many: see text in the box.

Tannin 10:35, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Sorry if I say so, what you are doing is making up arguments to get the best out of a bad situation. The only thing I hear is: This is how we do it and this is how we fudge it if it does not work. If you say that only below the species level you do get only one level down? Try the genus Mammillaria, there you have a smilar problem. Your argument why you want to keep it boils down to: we decided it that way, go away.
Again, when the taxobox states the current level and all subsequent levels are in the textbody you do not need to fudge. It is consistent and THAT is important. And yes it does look pretty. GerardM 11:35, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Gerard, I have no idea of what you are trying to say here. Can you explain it please? Tannin

I confess to have got a bit confused by the conversation, and wonder if people being talking at cross purposes at some points. Thus in the spirit that a picture speaks a thousand words, could someone who "gets it" knock up examples of the various alternatives, so it is easier to pick one. Pete/Thicko

Kraaiachtigen - Corvidae
Wetenschappelijke klassifikatie
Rijk: Animalia
Stam: Chordata
Klasse: Aves
Orde: Passeriformes

This picture is as used on the nl: website for the Corvidae. It does include a picture to show what a member of the family looks like. The taxobox presents background to the subject. All other stuff is in the body of the text.

When we talk about the common raven, we use the same distribution map and we put it under the species information. That way it is clean and informative. When you have a higher taxon, there are less levels of information above it. The current taxon is in pink as it is paricular to this level. The name follows and is complete and centered. No need for saying binominal name it might be a trinominal and, it does not add any information (it is part and parcel of it being a scientific classification

There are no trade offs necessary. It works on every level. No judgment calls. Plain, simple and informative. Additional information can be added.

  • If a photographer likes to see his name, humour him under the picture.
  • If you want to add the status, can do. The thing is it is all relevant within the box and it is all relevant on the subject.
  • Distribution map.
  • It does not really matter as long as it restricts itself to the subject and as long as it fits in a smallish box.

GerardM 12:36, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Ahh, thankyou. Wouldn't it have been easier to have posted that in the first place instead of writing that nasty personal attack? No matter - I've been around here long enough to have developed a pretty thick skin, so I'll let it pass without further comment. (If you wish, delete the attack, and I'll delete this reply as well.)

To business.

It looks like a good, simple scheme, essentially the same as the one we have now, but with the following differences:

  • (a) In species accounts, replace the "binomial name" term with "species".
  • (b) In higher-levels (family or etc,), add a similar-looking item, but highlighting the appropriate level.
  • (c) Dispense with the list of child taxa.

My initial response is to support (a) and (b). I am not convinced about (c), but am not strongly opposed to it. I do like the convenience of being able to rapidly drill down to a desired species via the taxoboxes, but I am also in favour of simplicity and keeping the boxes down to as small a size as practicable. Tannin

(b) is cute and all, but it is not doen on any of the pages above the rank of species, and I'm not sure how it would work for multiple ranked groups. The problem it solves is already handled through bolding. I have no idea why we'd want to make such a drastic and unnecessary change. For (c), see the discussion below. -- Josh

Picture found on the en:wikipedia
Wetenschappelijke klassifikatie
Rijk: Animalia
Stam: Chordata
Klasse: Aves
Orde: Passeriformes
Familie: Corvidae
Geslacht: Corvus
Corvus corone
Corvus corone map.jpg

Sorry, I was frustrated. Gerard

Now how about this one. The point you did not mention.

  • It does have the distribution map
  • It does attribute the picture (gesture of nice)

I do however feel really strong about giving the lower taxons; as they can not consistently be applied it is a bad idea. GerardM 13:55, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The example does look good, and is consistent in the different levels, which our current scheme is not. BTW, I do wish everyone here could be a little gentler with each other. WormRunner 16:54, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Our current scheme is consistent. It gives all ranks in the placement box, bolds the ones that refer to the current group, and then gives any names which aren't listed - i.e. ones composed from more than one rank's name.

The descendant list can be useful, far more useful than the placement box according to some. I can see why you'd want to leave it out. Frankly, I can see why one would want to skip the whole thing - presenting a single taxonomic scheme is often difficult, and certainly isn't value judgement free. But the descendant lists can be valuable, more valuable than the placement tables according to some, and I don't think we should lose that just because we can't always have that. Treat them as optional, the same way we do the range maps.

A lot of people here have suggestions for how to make the taxoboxes better, and they're all conflicting. Is the current standard really so broken that all this is necessary? -- Josh

You say that it is consistent and then talk about where it is consistent. Those are the things that you find in my raven/crow taxoboxes as well. So where you are consistent there is no argument. It is about where the current scheme is inconsistent that is what we are talking about.
The descendants CANNOT always be filled in. For instance the subspecies of Canis lupus. With the Genus Mammillaria not all descendant are of the same taxon. It just does not work. If you decide that you want it because you find it neat, OK that is a valid argument. But the talk here is about the ToL project. The talk is because opposing views / practices are edited out because "that is the way it is done".
As to the range map, it is an extra. Something that when available does fit nicely and is visually more pleasing than an other seperate picture on the page. This is more restfull to the eye AND it does add info to the subject of the taxobox.
To answer your question, the taxoboxes are not broken, they are flawed. Keep the good bits and improve by standardising on what can be done well. Allow for additional bits like maps and put the rest at work in the body of the text.
Thanks, GerardM 18:54, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

My point, very simply, is that the descendant list can be treated as an extra, just like the range map. A lot of people, myself included, find value in these, and I'd hate to see them all dropped simply because some don't work. Which, incidentally, has always been known, and nobody has hesitated to skip them when they're inappropriate. I don't see how flexibility counts as a flaw in the standard.

As for the random editing based on "how things are done", I agree it's a problem. That's why I redid the page, to try and make the standards somewhat more explicit. I don't understand, however, why changing to a different standard that is not used anywhere, like the separate row for the lowest rank you propose, would help with that. And I'm concerned that such changes will simply end up divorcing the standards listed here from those used. There are people like descendant lists, and they are going to use them. We should try and be accomodating to them. -- Josh

Practise as I have observed is when descendant lists are used, that this information is not used in the body of the text. This makes the picture less clear because when you have a family and include genus and species, it is the genus level that makes the visual distinction between the groupings. The example below is as I think it should be.
  • Family:
    • Genus:
      • Species:
      • Species:
    • Genus:
      • Species:
You are wrong when you say that it is not used elsewhere. There is a map with the Netherlands on it. :) There is a wikipedia in our language. We do use taxoboxes and we do use the standard as I put forward here. :So the standard is used, it was not invented here but it would be better if we could have one standard. The arguments I hear are "people like it" "that is what we do" "it is difficult" "how will other people react".
If you think this is a better standard, why NOT use it. As we cannot tell people to use it we can effect a change by giving a good example giving a good example. GerardM 21:21, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I am getting to quite like Gerard's basic proposal for the taxobox: it does resolve a systematic inconsistency about the way we treat species taxoboxes in comparison with any others. However, there are two unsustainable arguments running around here.

  1. That there is no case for doing things "because that's the way we do them". On the contrary, there is a very GOOD case for not changing anything about format unless there is a substantial advantage in doing so. We now have a lot of taxoboxes - I would guess several thousand. We don't want to have to change them (and educate a whole lot of editors to do new ones in a new way) unless there is a good reason for doing so - for the fundamental reason that doing that wastes time that we could be spending writing new articles or improving the actual content of the ones we've got. And in particular, we don't want to change them once and then decide to change them again. So it's appropriate that we thrash out here exactly how we want them, and try to get at a standard that will be stable for a good long period.
  2. That if there is something that we cannot ALWAYS do, then we should NEVER do it (in this case, the descendant taxa - though it would apply equally well to range maps since in many cases the data to do them accurately don't exist).

We are I think close to agreement on what to do about descendant taxa. At the risk of repetition, let me try and summarise what I think has strong majority report (clearly not consensus, because Gerard is against them root and branch):

  • include them at the next primary level down if it is feasible to do so.
  • if it is infeasible to do so (usually because there are too many), either refer to the text, or to a separate article that contains a list, or list them at an intermediate level (e.g. list the subfamilies if there is a huge number of genera).

One of the things Gerard is concerned about, which I don't think we have yet discussed properly, is what to do when the next level down is mixed. If I understand him aright, this occurs in plants, where the direct descendants may be at a mixture of subspecies and variety level, for example. Actually I think that does occur higher up, too (indeed, I personally wish it was allowed to occur more - if only we could stop systematists inventing one-genus subfamilies just because they need a subfamily to bring a number of related genera together elsewhere in the family, for example). I agree with Gerard that this makes the descendant box potentially logically untidy, but I don't agree that that is a problem - the world often is logically untidy, after all. If I remember rightly, I have seen taxoboxes that list the descendants as "subfamilies and genera", and I don't see why that is a big problem.

Incidentally, a quite independent suggestion. How about including a unique titling link in every taxobox (something like [[taxobox]]), so that all taxoboxed articles would link to that page? In that case, if we did decide on a change, there would be a way of working through them systematically, using the "what links here" data for that page. The link would need to be invisible or near-invisible to the reader, of course, but I'm sure we could think of a way of doing that. Also, is there any way of using the {{msg}} or {{subst}} syntax to make it easier to generate new taxoboxes according to newly agreed conventions? I know we mostly use cut and paste, but still... especially if we could use {{msg}} it would make it easier to implement agreed changes system-wide.

And now I'm not going to think about this issue until next week. seglea 21:36, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Well, I for one agree with your points entirely. I'm not quite sure what Gerard is saying with regards to families and genera, but I for one have a much easier time recognizing ants and minnows than specific genera thereof, so I'm not sure it's valid. It would be helpful if he linked to an example done the way he wants, or explained what's so wrong with pages like Cnidaria or even ciliate.

As to Gerard's proposed alteration to the placement box, I don't think it makes things better. Quite the contrary - emphasizing a particular rank makes things difficult for groups with multiple ranks, e.g. Ginkgo and green sulfur bacteria. His point about the other wikipedias is valid - I shouldn't have ignored them, and we should try and make the standards as universal as possible. However, cruising around some random pages on the Netherlands wikipedia, the only one I found with a proper taxobox was nl:Mier, and it used the same style we do here (i.e. there is no family boxlet). So the alternate standard he proposes can't be that common, even there.

At the moment, the only remaing proposals for change seem to be advancing personal preferences at the expense of the established concensus, without obvious gain. Let's not do that. Uther would like to bold genus names, Gerard would like to create a group boxlet for higher ranks and abandon descendent boxes, and I would like to prefix species names with their genera. But none of these seem to have any broad support, and so I don't see any further reason to concern ourselves with them. -- Josh

When you look at the boxes that are higher up, you do NOT find any groupboxes. What you find in pink is the type of taxon involved. Below it you find the name of appropriate for this level. I do not want groupboxes. I do not want any descendants listed in the taxobox. You want an example of how it could be? Look at "Nederlands" for the Corvidae or look up Carp and go ne:.
When you read an article it is _about_ one rank. _That_ is the rank that gets emphasised. _That_ is what the article is about. So I fail to see that it is not good to emphasise a rank.
On another subject: there is no such species as a corone. It is not unique. All the other taxons _are_ unique within a kingdom. So only stating corone is taxonominally wrong. Acceptable is to say C. corone and Corvus corone. This has little to do with preference but everything with what you are trying to do: informing on taxonomy.
Thanks, GerardM 23:30, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'm already aware that you don't want group boxes, and how you want things to look. The problem is I disagree. You haven't offered any reason for the change beyond consistency, and as Seglea said that's not enough. In the distant past our ciliate page looked a lot like the mock-up you made on nl:Ciliophora (is there no Dutch common name?), and I assure you it was much less convenient. I don't see what's gained from your approach. If you want to persuade us, you'll have to offer some better reason. Otherwise, as I said, it's only a matter of personal taste, in which case we should keep the standard we have.

Articles are about one taxon, but it does not necessarily occupy a single rank. I have already explained this, and given two examples: green sulfur bacteria, which is ranked from family up to division, and Ginkgo, the article for which simultaneously covers everything from the species G. biloba to the division Ginkgophyta because they are identical. Please at least acknowledge this matter before claiming there isn't a problem.

As for giving the species as corone, it works in the taxobox because the genus is firmly established beforehand. Personally, I'd have liked to give it as C. corone anyways, but other people were solidly against doing so, and I think that's as resolved as anything is going to get. See the above discussion. -- Josh

Enlighten me please, you say that it was worse in the past and it is better now. How is it better?
You say, it is personal taste vs what we have decided in the past. But also that it would be better if all the wikis adhere to the same standards. When the first argument applies, you are right and I go away and do my own thing. When the second argument applies, it does not help to say: "this is how we have decided in the past". Because then I leave you to do your own thing. So do we use arguments that have merit in both the wikis or, do we decide that each his own ? GerardM 16:13, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Sample Taxoboxes and further thoughts[edit]

As late as Feb 5, there were Sample Taxoboxes on the Project page. These are still mostly relvant. (To see how they've changed over time, go the the Project's history.) I think it is a good idea to link to them from the project's page, perhaps at Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/Sample Taxoboxes. - UtherSRG 02:58, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Of course, some updating is required... but I'm too tired from all that I've done today... include accept a new job offer.... Wheee! :) - UtherSRG 04:02, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree. I would also like to see the species taxobox from the above site on the general project page, as I consider it especially good for plants. And good luck on the job. -- WormRunner 04:45, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Congratulations! Hopefully it won't interfere too much with important things like Wikipedia. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 08:20, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Thanks guys! *grins* I'm excited about the new job. Anyways... I've updated the Sample Taxoboxes according to my understanding of what the standard is that we are moving to, at least as far as the "upper portion" of the taxobox is concerned, plus the lower portion of the species taxobox. Things left to do/discuss:

  1. add commented out range map line (similar to commented out image line)
  2. deal with reference line. Is this coming out?
  3. I left the descendant rank title link intact. Should this come out?
  4. Sometimes the full descendant list is used, sometimes it is not. Given that it can't always be done (ie dozens of descendants) and that it is highly useful information for the taxobox, I believe this is the correct approach. Looking at the literature, there's the same kind of variety to how things are listed.

- UtherSRG 13:55, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'll continue to talk to myself....

  1. the archives don't show any clear decision on leaving/keeping the Ref line. I think it should be left out. The choice of which reference to use, how conflicts between references available were resolved, etc., all belong in the text. However, I'm willing to leave it in, particularly when there is nothing in the text or a ==References== section.
  2. Why aren't there more WikiProjects for ToL? At the least, there should be one for each of the Kingdoms. (For anyone with The Variety of Life (Oxford University Press, 2000), Colin Tudge (ISBN 0-19-850311-3), I so like the way he structured the book and think we should have a bunch of Projects along a similar structure....)
  3. range maps for migratory species would do well to show nesting range vs wintering range. And should they be called range maps? Perhaps habitat maps are better... that would fit less mobile species and would definitely fit sessile species.

- UtherSRG 15:34, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Re 2)... well its not a Kingdom (I guessed animals was just too gargantuan a task right now and would thus overlap too much with ToL) but I just started a page Wikipedia:WikiProject Mammals... I was going to do it in my user area but saw what your wrote so changed the name - hence why it is very rough - I had in mind a "tracker" page rather than a policy page thinking maybe policy would get duplicated somehow. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 16:39, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I was actually thinking much along the same lines: ToL would be the major policy project, while the child projects would be more tracking-oriented with policy limited only to the special difficulties of that project. - UtherSRG 18:21, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Congrats on the new job, Uther (unless, you know, it's something evil). Your changes to the samples are nice. I would leave out the references from most of them - maybe just give one example where it's put in, to show how it works when necessary. Btw, the last table has a footnote about difficulties with the order. That sort of flagging of variation hasn't been done very often, and is woefully inadequate for all but the simplest problems. I wonder if it's really a good idea to put in a sample? And what exactly do you guys mean by "tracker" pages? -- Josh

I had in mind something like a page that said "There are 3000 mammal species. We expect to be able to write individual articles these 1000 species (list) and 500 more general articles at family and genus level to cover the rest (list). The ones we've done are...., the ones we haven't done are..." The immediate concern that people may well have is that the goal becomes one of quantity rather than quality. I will personally try to avoid this (it has taken me six months to write fifty cetacea articles)... and looking at what other people do I am sure they will too... anyway this tracker page ideally will include what quality various aeas anyway. This idea is normally the sort of thing I keep back to my user pages so feel free to knock it around and shake it up a bit! Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 18:39, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Thanks Josh! I've removed all but one Ref line from the samples. I'm going to leave the flagging in for now. It's not often done, but it's nice to have an example so folks know that if they need to, it's part of the "standard". (Um... I just went to your user page... isn't it somewhat telling that someone named Grosse is interested in protists?? *grins*) - UtherSRG 19:10, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

'Cause protists are small, 'cause they're a great kingdom, or...? I'm not sure that bolding non-monotypic genera is what we agreed on. At least, I don't remember agreeing to it, I remember Tannin objecting to it before the discussion, and I don't remember anyone else expressing an opinion. I don't think it can be listed as a standard. -- Josh

('Cos they are gross! *grins* Sorry... coudn't resist....) Take a look at the sample taxobox history on the original version of the meta page. It wasn't a change I was proposing, it was the standard. And I'll make one more plug for it. If one were to write species level article using the species name, one would make an article called Foo bar. In that article, you'd have in the initial paragraph a mention of Foo bar, not Foo bar. Not bolding the genus in the taxobox is the same thing, only vertical instead of horizontal. The indication that the article isn't about Foo is the fact that the taxobox would list it as Foo. - UtherSRG 22:58, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

None of the protists I've run into are gross, so I wouldn't have guessed. It seems you're right about it being the way the page was, and I'll leave things as they are for now. But the genus in the taxobox isn't just part of the species name, it's a separate level, and sooner or later having two incompatible bolding standards is going to get us into trouble. -- Josh

Oh ye of little faith. *grins* It's not incompatible. It's just as incompatible as having to write Foo bar in regular text is. Let's see if I can write a pseudocode/decision-tree that would create an correct taxobox:

loop over all ranks (kingdom .. species)
  is name[rank] article topic?
    yes -> bold this name[rank]
    no  -> link this name[rank]
  is rank genus? 
    yes -> italic this name[rank]
  is rank species?
    yes -> italic this name[rank]
    yes -> bold previous name[rank]

Of course this doesn't take into account intermediate ranks between genus and species or below species, but you can interpolate how that would work. - UtherSRG 02:29, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

So where is everyone else? I thought there would be more comments on my 7 points above. And here's another: In the 'Binomial name' section, which is preferable:

one line two line
Genus species L., date
Genus species
Linnaeus, date

One line is the old standard, but I think I like the two line format. - UtherSRG 02:55, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

OK. Range map place marker, yes. references should mostly go in a references section, but I like to put it in the taxobox if there is a dispute over the naming (Phaseolus vs. Vigna for example), but I would not argue too vehemently over a change to take them out. Children, in the body text for the sake of consistency. Range maps I would be interested in (plants and worms) would not have a wintering versus nesting range, but I think we could use a two color system for that and one map. I prefer the one line system for plants, but where the name is not normally abbreviated I could see using an extra line to reduce table width. I would abbreviate Linnaeus and link it. As for subprojects, lets get this one tied down. Another point I would raise is I really dislike putting lists of genera in a separate article from the family. WormRunner 03:25, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)
As to L, or Linnaeus, IPNI uses a standard abbreviation for authors. Now Linnaeus is a small name but how about "Bonpland, Aimé Jacques Alexandre" standard abbreviation "Bonpl." ?? The standard abbreviations also allow for two people with the same name; they get different abbreviations. The point with the standard abbreviations is, that they should be unique to a person. Another thing: "(A.B.Lau & K.Wagner) Glass & R.C.Foster" is a valid author for a cactus. You do not want all names written fully do you ?
As to your concern about a list of genera in another article, indeed. For me they should go in the body of the text. GerardM 04:57, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree that stadardized abreviations are good to use. Finding them is not always easy, or finding what they stand for to make the link correct isn't always easy, either. I think this is another area we are not going to be able to simply standardize in a way that is visually appealing. I think the best rule of thumb is to use what is most visually appealing. I know... it is a very subjective guideline. - UtherSRG 14:56, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

When it comes to finding relatively good names you can use IPNI, autors search they are specialised on plants. They are in the process of standardizing their few million entries in their database. They use "Brummitt and Powell’s Authors of Plant Names", some 94% is now up to date. GerardM 16:45, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Since I'm currently focussed on Primates, I tried searching for abreviations for the authors I recently added to some of the primate articles. I wasn't able to find many, but at least I was able to find some. It would be good if we could identify other author searches. - UtherSRG 19:43, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Ok... found a few more. More importantly, I'm more convinced that the two line style is going to work better. Even with abbreviations, the length of the author/abbreviation and date make the one line long enough to not be appealing to the eye, while the two line always seems to be more pleasing. Another possibility:

one line two line
Genus species L., date
Genus species
Linnaeus, date

Whatdo people think about making the author & date small? - UtherSRG 21:00, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

If the author reference is a simple "L." (does that one ever have a date anyway, I have only seen it without) it fit well in the same line (and would look a bit lost in the second line, unless we skip the abbreviation), but in many cases a second line is simply necessary. That one can be small (too bad it has no wiki code to make it small, so we have to use HTML), and I'd prefer it to be non-bold. andy 22:40, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)
one line two line
Genus species L., date
Genus species
Linnaeus, date

It can have a date, but since most of his description was done all at once (1758), it is often left off because that date is understood. Unbold looks good to me. - UtherSRG 22:58, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I like the last two line example the best (binomial name in bold, author's last name and date under it, not in bold). Things like L., even if linked, mean little to nothing to the average reader (who may assume L = Latin). L. would be even more meaningless in print. --mav 11:59, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Ok, it looks like Uther's bolding approach is going to be used, so I've added it formally to the page. I don't think we should always put in a stub for the range map, because they simply aren't appropriate for some groups, but it wouldn't be bad to stubs in on pages we think should have them. His other six points I fully support, and for the reference in the binomial name box, I suggest we allow either one or two lines depending on how much room is necessary. One more addition I think might be valuable would be to give existence dates for extinct groups - i.e. whether it was a recent extinction, whether they existed back in the Lower Jurassic, or so forth. And I still think it would be worthwhile to get some idea on how big images and maps should be. -- Josh

I agree that range maps are not approprate across the board. And I love your idea about extinctions. 'Status: extinct' should be used for those extinctions that happened in humanity's lifetime, while those before should have.... what? Perhaps something like: Jurassic (180-170 M.y.a) - UtherSRG 21:00, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I've modified Omomyidae, removing extinct conservation status and replacing it with and indication of when it existed. Unfortunately, it lived across two -ocenes. Even so, I think it looks pretty good. - UtherSRG 22:31, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Note that author citation conventions for plants and animals differ; in animals, name abbreviations are not used, dates are given, and when transferred to a different genus, the original author is bracketed but the revising author is not mentioned - Genus species Linnaeus, 1758 later revised to Genusoides species (Linnaeus, 1758). In plants, names are often abbreviated, dates are not given, and when transferred to a different genus, the original author is bracketed and the revising author is mentioned out of brackets - Genus species L. later revised to Genusoides species (L.) Newpers. - MPF 11:37, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

In botanics to be complete, not only is a name is given like Genus species (first author) second author but to complete it, the publication is mentioned. For the best reference to the occurence of botanical names, their publications and authors; [ the IPNI website] see also article on IPNI. The thing is that there are names with the same (second author) and a DIFFERENT publication therefore a diffent description to the name.

IPNI has standardized the names of the publications. A great resource IPNI.

GerardM 11:54, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The place of publication is only given in very specialised checklists; I've got the full set for Conifers in the Kew Checklist (quite a few of which aren't in the IPNI list, or are not accurately given there), but it would be a very long, slow task editing them all in. Do we really need it? - MPF 17:11, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Common Names[edit]

We need some standards on common names. There was a big discussion last year about this in WIKI-EN-l. Basically, almost all scientific authorities on plants do NOT capitalize common names, but many popular guides do, and some users insist on going through and capitalizing every plant name (see Swamp chestnut oak, for instance). This is driving me nuts (of course, something like American beech is always capitalized). Also, ALL authoritative references use one of the forms "cucumbertree" or "cucumber-tree", and NEVER "Cucumber tree", but some users are insisting on using the separate-word form based on Google searches. On the same basis, you could "prove" that there really was a think-tank study of presidential IQ last year when it was really just a satire -- or you could "prove" that Chief Seattle said a lot of things he never said (which were actually written by a scriptwriter in 1972). jaknouse 02:03, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

It would be helpful, Jack, if you'd tone it down a bit. You came into a couple pages that have had a lot of recent work put into them, moved them with no explanation, and when challenged, acted as if you were now in charge. Now here you are complaining, putting down folks. Take it easy, OK? Pollinator 06:28, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Actually, Pollinator, you're doing the personal putdowns. I did not name any names or call them any names. I just voiced my frustration over actions. jaknouse 22:39, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Another reason to have three subprojects (plants, animals, the rest) where capitalization is one policy that can be determined at the subproject level? Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:40, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, but it is simply not true that "almost all scientific authorities on plants do NOT capitalize common names". Nearly all of my authoritative books that I've checked use either Red Fir, or Red fir, or no vernacular names at all, for their format:
Dallimore & Jackson, Handbook of Coniferae - Red Fir
Farjon, Pinaceae, drawings and descriptions of the genera - Red fir
Liu, Monograph of the genus Abies - Red fir
Welch & Haddow, World checklist of conifers - Red Fir
Bean, Trees & shrubs hardy in the British Isles - RED FIR (edit - smallcaps isn't working - that should be large caps R & F, small caps ED & IR)
Rushforth, Conifers - Red fir
Vidakovic, Conifers morphology and variation - Red Fir
RHS Dictionary of Gardening - cleverly sidesteps the issue by using entirely SMALLCAPS (including e.g. AMERICAN BEECH) for vernacular names (edit: the A and the MER- of AMER- the same size)
- MPF 11:04, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)
"(of course, something like American beech is always capitalized)" Why? - if 'swamp white oak' is correct, why should 'american beech' be any different? They are both species names of equal status; to capitalise them differently is to be inconsistent. OK, so I hear you say, 'the second is a proper name'. So what the h*ll is a "proper name"? Who decides if a name is "proper" or not? They should be either fully capitalised, or else nothing capitalised at all. Anything else is merely an opportunity for self-appointed know-alls to show off that they're superior to the common riff-raff, knowing whether a name is "proper" or not. It's as bad as those idiots who still insist on capitalising seemingly random species names in Latin - totally confusing. - MPF 11:04, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)
This doesn't have anything to do with the plant in question. America is a proper name, since it refers to a country, and American is always captalised in written English. Thus even if you say red fir, you should still say American beech. -- Josh

The standard adopted on Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds#Names and titles: and subsequently used by other Tree of Life projects is to capitalize each word in the common name:

The name of a species is always capitalised. This signals to the reader that we are indicating a particular, exact species. The phrase "in Australia there are many Common Starlings" indicates a large number of Sturnus vulgaris. In contrast, the phrase "in Australia there are many common starlings" indicates several different types of starling.

Always capitalizing avoids confusion by indicating that a specific organism is being discussed, instead of some group of similar organisms. The standard used is to capitalize each complete word and do no capitalize the latter half of hyphenated words. I support this standard. - UtherSRG 14:35, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

My personal preference is strongly for full capitalisation for plants, as already for birds. But it's going to be a huge task changing them all, and all the links pointing at the pages. Is the hassle worthwhile? - MPF 17:11, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think it is worth the hassle. However, I'm not suggesting a rigorous "attack" on the existing articles. Let's get the Project page updated to reflect the standard, make sure all the regular contributors know about it, and then work as we normally do: When we see a problem and have the time and energy to fix it, fix it. Similarly there's hundreds of taxoboxes with rank title links that need to be "fixed" in the same manner. (On ther otherhand, I regularly peruse the entire set of Primate pages, but they are still only a large handful in number...) - UtherSRG 17:29, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Almost everybody capitalizes common names when they are a title. The test is whether they're capitalized in the body of a work. jaknouse 22:39, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hard to know - mostly they only use Latin names in the body. Rushforth retains the same in the body though. No comment on why you illogically "of course" capitalise some names but refuse to do so for others? Why, and who decides? - MPF 23:07, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Bird names don't count because they have long had their own peculiar protocol. All right, look at it this way. "Dog" as used most often refers particularly to the species Canis familiaris (or Canis lupus familiaris), while "cat" usually refers to the species Felis silvestris (or Felis silvestris catus). "Cow" refers to Bos taurus, "goat" refers to Capra aegagrus hircus. "Tomato" refers to Lycopersicon esculentum (or Solanum lycopersicon), "potato" refers to Solanum tuberosum. If we follow the rule of capitalizing common names, then every time that dog, cat, cow, goat, tomato or potato appears referring to those species, then they must, too be capitalized. jaknouse 02:52, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

That's good logic, Jaknouse, but let's look at your examples one by one:

  • A dog can be any of several creatures in the same general group as Canis lupus familiaris. The African Hunting Dog, for example, or the Red Fox. Both of these are dogs. Essentially, "dog" is a synonym for "canid". A Dog, however, is a particular exact species: Canis lupus familiaris.
  • A cat can be Felis leo, Felis silvestris, or any other felid. A Cat (or Domestic Cat) is Felis silvestris and no other.
  • A cow is a female bovine of any species, including but not limited to Bos taurus. There is no such thing as a "Cow", or a "Bull". The correct terms are "cow" and "bull" as these are simply gender designations like "male" and "female" and are never capitalised. The common name of the species Bos taurus is Ox.
  • A goat is any of a great many species. There is no "Goat". There is, however, the Domestic Goat, Capra aegagrus hircus.

I won't try to deal with your plant examples, as I lack the expertise. However, you can work the correct capitalisation out for yourself very easily. The rule is very simple: is this the formal common name of a particular exact species? If yes, then it should be capitalised. If no, then it should be in lower case.

(Sorry Pete: I just bumped your comment down.) Tannin 10:38, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Your post has answered the question in some ways. cat always means felix silvestris and technical articles should avoid using cat for any other meaning, to avoid inconsistency with the general articles and ensure that the Cat entry refers to felix silvestris. The same applies to dog, cow and goat: avoid using terms with common meanings in the technical articles. dog, cow and goat will always then refer to the correct, common, species. I'll leave it to context to clarify whether big cat refers to leopards and lions or large domestic cats. If it's ambiguous, avoid it. Jamesday 22:57, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Here's a plant example: white oak (Quercus section Quercus) versus White Oak (Quercus alba). Very easy to confuse the two meanings, unless they are distinguished by capitalisation. Oh, and I'm still waiting for how, and who, defines which names are to be capitalised as "proper" names . . . - MPF 14:52, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I suggest using italics. The difference between white oak and white oak is clear. It's how titles are commonly indicated accoring to the general style guide and it's both clear and dodges the competing capitalisation styles. Ask for a style for this project and it can be done with <span class=tolspecificspecies>white oak</span> and can be changed to first letter caps, all caps or anything else later if the convention changes, just by changing the style sheet. Jamesday 22:57, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
It's a grammar thing. Go pick up a grammar textbook. Otherwise, I'm in agreement with you. - UtherSRG 14:57, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hi Uther - it isn't as simple as that - there's far too many names where you have to know the detailed etymology of the word. Far too abstruse and confusing for the ordinary user, it hints at secret knowledge that you have to be an 'in' person to know. Take e.g. Brazilwood - I'm sure J. would say "it's a country, so therefore capitalise". Actually, it isn't; the country Brazil is named after the tree, not the other way round, so by his rules, lower case. Converse for Bishop Pine - My guess is J. would say lower case (the books he uses do), but wrong, it is named after the town (then a Spanish mission post) of San Luis Obispo, and should be capitalised by his criteria. You have to know exactly how each individual name was derived, and that's a nightmare. I'd like to know what he'd say for Daimyo Oak, Yoshino Cherry, Kauri, Pohutukawa, etc, etc, etc. - does he expect us all to be fluent in the etymology of Japanese, Maori, and every other language that gets used for names?! I presume he knows everything and is? This snivelling little ignoramus (me) certainly doesn't know for those examples — I await his response with interest, along with his accurate determination of the correct capitalisation for ALL the names listed here - MPF 15:45, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

In response to the above: First, I have already acceded to a compromise on name form in accepting hyphenated names as the standard. I can live with that. My last argument, above, was not an argument specifically for lower-case common names. If you re-read it, it was an argument for CONSISTENCY. The Dog article, for instance, uses "dog" and "wolf" throughout. If we follow a capitalization rule, then they should be capitalized throughout except if referring to a multi-species group. In any case, I used to capitalize common names -- and got a grade reduced in college for doing so! And, finally, MPF has a problem as a user. Personal attacks (calling me a "snivelling little ignoramus") are NOT acceptable. I am reporting this instance to the wiki-en-l mailing list. MPF seems to be in confusion as to whose actions are what -- I have taken no more action in changing edits than he has. And, finally, his point about not always knowing when names are proper is well-taken, but is no more difficult to deal with than most taxonomic issues. jaknouse 16:24, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I came here because I read your complaint on the mailing list. Firstly he didn't call you it, he called himself it. Secondly the mailing list is not a police force this sort of thing should go through conflict resolution theresa knott 17:04, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Umm, it's ambiguous; MPF could be referring to himself or jaknouse. The first time I read it, it seemed to me like it was directed at jaknouse. -- Cyan 17:35, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I apologize if I misread it. I re-read it and now realize that it was more likely he was implying that to be my assessment of him. I want to stress that I have been arguing over only two points in MPF's edits (capitalization and compound word form) -- I've had no problem with his other edits. I decided to survey the entire staff of Ohio University's department of Plant and Environmental Biology on this question by email. So far, I've gotten three responses -- two against capitalization from botanists, and one in favor of capitalization from an environmental scientist. jaknouse 18:10, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
An interesting idea, Jaknouse, but bear in mind that you are surveying an Ohio university. Try that same thing in the UK or New Zealand or Australia (for example) and you'll get very different results. The US has a peculiar reluctance to capitalise. Tannin
Looking through Jaknouse's member page a few days ago and various edits, I find he's a person I'd agree with 99% of the time - so I hope we can put our differences into context on this, they're very minor by comparison. My apologies, Jak, for the offence made; while the 'snivelling ignoramus' was pointed at myself, it did equally imply a one-upmanship on my part which I shouldn't have done. Sorry. - MPF 00:52, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

next bit[edit]

There has long been a compromise that species would not been capitalized in non-technical/non-specialist articles. In technical articles, they are. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 10:08, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

There are no such things as "formal" common names. Take ox as an example, it is a castrated bull as well as what you call a "formal" common name. Some names are "formal" in one area while another plant is called by the same "formal" name e.g. "horsecrippler". My conclusion: as "formal" commen names are arbitrary, they do not deserve attention. The only "formal" names are latin names as they are there to prevent confusion.
However, as many synonimes for one organism exist, confusion reigns supreme. (There is a gras with over 50 synonyms). The practical reason why Wikipedia uses common names, is because they help somewhat. Then again, look at African Elephant, confusion again while it used to be a "proper formal" common name. GerardM 14:43, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Moved from Village Pump[edit]

(I moved the following text from the Village Pump to here as Andy has pointed out to me that this is being discussed here.)--Lowellian 23:58, Mar 9, 2004 (UTC)

I noticed, because of the Featured Article, yesterday that the title of both words of the Sperm Whale entry was capitalized. Following some more links, I realized that other animal entries, like Blue Whale or Asian Elephant, were also capitalized. I don't think that is correct. The entries should be titled Sperm whale, Blue whale, Asian elephant, etc., instead, because normally in sentences you would write something like "The blue whale is the largest mammal," not "The Blue Whale is the largest mammal." You simply don't capitalize common names of animals (for example, see praying mantis), except when a word is already a proper noun (for example, "Persian cat" or "Asian elephant"), and even then you only capitalize the proper noun and not the entire common name. --Lowellian 17:27, Mar 9, 2004 (UTC)
The capitalization is the style agreed on in Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life. Just that topic has come up again shortly ago, so you can still find some discussion about it there. It seems that many scientific sources use the capitalized version like a name, for example to distinguish between "the Common Sparrow" and "a common Sparrow". andy 19:57, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Dichotomous key[edit]

At wikibooks:Wikibooks:Staff lounge, I have proposed creating a comprehensive dichotomous key. There was mixed enthusiasm there, and I am now less certain it would be useful, so I am bringing it up here to see if anybody else thinks its a Great Idea or a Nice Thought But Not Really Feasible and/or wants to help. (Nothing has been started, though I've given the layout a bit of thought) Tuf-Kat 00:31, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC) P.S. dichotomous key needs an article.

That sounds like a great idea for a Wikibook! Don't feel disencouraged by the lack of activity on the Staff lounge - Wikibooks is still a small project. But plugging the idea here to generate interest and help in creating the Wikibook was a good idea. --mav 01:19, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I'll put something together at wikibooks:Dichotomous Key:Start]] (snazzier name, anyone?) Tuf-Kat 04:14, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC)
I used the Wikipedia articles on Plant, Animal, Bacteria, Monera, Archaea and Protist to do the first page (linked above), but ... those articles need some work, as I am very unsure I understood them right. Tuf-Kat 04:55, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC)

Protista and a few others have been misunderstood, and I'm not sure how to fix them. If we want to stick with a classification based approach, defining characters will have to be relatively technical, otherwise too many things will be misplaced. For instance, echinoderms are Bilateria, but they clearly have radial symmetry (and so are Radiata according to the current key). I would have the key follow general characters, and allow groups multiple entries if they vary greatly in nature. Does this sound fair? I'd be willing to make a quick attempt at an example, if anyone wanted. -- Josh

I don't really know what you mean, but go ahead and do an example and we'll see what it looks like. Tuf-Kat 09:44, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

Taxonomic Incosistencies[edit]

I've been looking through the mammal pages and noticed a number of inconsistencies. For instance, the Red Panda is listed as both a member of Procyonidae and Ursidae. The hamsters are listed as both a separate family (Cricetidae) at Rodentia, and as a subfamily of Muridae (Cricetinae). How are such issues to be dealt with? Is there any standard reference on which wikipedia's taxonomic schemes are based? john 19:10, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

You've hit the nail on the head, John. Taxonomy is nearly as fluid as it is static; almost as soon as a taxonomy is published, something in the classification is refuted in another work. While this project (ToL) is a great start and an excellent place to ensure consistent policies, there really isn't much standardizing what taxonomies are used. The only exceptions are the "leaf" descendants of this project (Birds, Primates, and Cetaceans). In those projects, we attempt to set policies on taxonomic references, as well as rabble rousing... err... brainstorming new policies for ToL. *grins* If you are particularly moved, I would be very supportive of you starting Wikipedia:WikiProject Carnivora or Insectivora. - UtherSRG 22:30, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Sadly, my own taxonomic knowledge is rather limited, or at least dated, largely coming from books I read in my childhood in the late 1980s (Facts on File's Encyclopedia of Mammals from 1986, mostly) so I'm probably not the best person to work on such things. I am always astonished to discover how much the taxonomic scheme has changed in the past 20 years from the scheme elaborated in that book. BTW, there is a wikiproject on Mammals in general, but it is so far rather barebones. It seems to me that the thing to do would be to find the most recent general reference work and follow it, noting where appropriate controversies and suggested alternative arrangements. Trying to assemble all of the most recent articles into a general scheme strikes me as striking at the edges of the "no primary research" rule. Obviously, this would not be primary research, but the process of ourselves constructing a somewhat idiosyncratic general model of the classification of mammals, for instance, strikes me as unwise, given the extent to which this stuff is disputed. It could certainly be accused of being POV. Sticking to a single standard reference work for, say, mammals, would make the most sense. john 00:15, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Binomial name v. Binomial nomenclature|Binomial name v. Binomial nomenclature[edit]

Ok, I can't remember wher the conversation was, but I was arguing against the disambiguation and for 'Binomial nomenclature' at one point, but my discussion partner convinced me that 'Binomial name' was a better. However, I don't believe I ever brought that discussion back to here. The argument that swayed me was that 'binomial nomenclature' refers not just to the name, but to the whole system of naming, while the entry in the taxobox is just the name. Thoughts? I see that mav prefers the disambiguation... - UtherSRG 03:15, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Frankly I don't like any of them. "two name name" is redundant, and "two name system of naming" isn't much better when all we are talking about is the full species name. "Binomial" gets used as a noun and according to Merriam-Webster online is officially a noun meaning:
1 : a mathematical expression consisting of two terms connected by a plus sign or minus sign
2 : a biological species name consisting of two terms
So why not use "binomial". But if its a choice only among those given, I would take "binomial name", without disambig. In this case I think redirecting is good enough. WormRunner | Talk 04:08, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I like the implicity of just plain binomial too. Good idea, WR. Also, I admit to a pet dislike of <binomial nonclementure|binomial name> in the taxoboxes. The less clutter the better. Tannin 05:27, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I have suggested some time ago to stop using the binominal bit at all in favour for the taxon that is applicable to what is discussed. It would be "species" followed by "Genus species". The idea that it is redundant is true. GerardM 05:41, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Maybe the most general term would be systematic name - because in a few cases we might want to use a trinomial (e.g. Canis lupus familiaris). I'm also conscious of the more general reader - plain "binomial" might be confusing or offputting. Among those suggested, "binomial name" is probably the least bad; the reasons stated against the alternatives are cogent, and the only objection that's been raised against it is that it is a tautology. But it's only a literal tautology if the reader knows Latin; and really it is not a tautology at all, because it is a compressed form of "name within the binomial system" - i.e. the two "name" particles within the phrase have different implicit references, one to the organism and the other to the system. seglea 19:15, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I could go for "Systematic name" -- WormRunner | Talk 19:54, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I strongly object - systematic name is way too general. Best to link to Binomial name or Trinomial name as appropriate. --mav 07:32, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • I really don't see what is wrong with Binomial nomenclature|Binomial name after all there's already Vertebrata|Vertebrate Plant|Plantae bird|aves Mammal|mammalia rodent|rodentia Perching bird|passeriformes etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Clutter isn't really a good excuse anymore considering. Either we want to do this in a semi-scientific way or a dummied down way. I also don't see the point in not putting domain and subkingdom in. Are we going to do this RIGHT or like a 5th grader would do it. Williamb 10:26, 8 Aug 2004 (UTC)