Introduction to my Blog on Reptile Nomenclature

Having worked as a taxonomist and paleontologist since 1994 and with the ever increasing confusion and instability I see in the scientific names of reptiles in particular I have decided to start writing a blog on the subject. Throughout the course of my wok I have been lucky to name 5 species of reptiles (all turtles) and one genus. This may not seem an astounding number but unlike many other vertebrate groups turtles only have 453 species in total at the time of this writing.

The problem with names in reptiles is largely a result of a proliferation of inadequately described species, that have not been the subject of adequate review prior to publication. In science this is referred to as peer review and basically a checking mechanism that the published work meets certain standards.

My plan is to discuss a range of issues in the reptiles, including correct nomenclature (scientific names) point out newly described species that do meet scientific standards and talk about why certain names are not valid. I also plan to discuss using as many examples as I can why this is actually important. It may seem to someone outside the field of taxonomy that this is just not important in the general scheme of things, but truly it is. Every living thing on Earth has, or should have, a name. These scientific names work in any language, they are used to communicate about whatever species you are interested in.

So welcome to this blog, I hope to write in it often and hope people will find it useful.


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