Scincus, Garsault, 1764

Welter-Schultes, F. W. & Klug, R., 2011, Comments on new names and nomenclatural acts of amphibians and non-avian sauropsids established by Garsault 1764 and Laurenti 1768 (response to Dubois & Bour 2010), Zootaxa 2814, pp. 50-58 : 55-56

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Also here Dubois & Bour (2010) tried to consult a present-day classification for judging whether or not Laurenti's 1768 use of the name Scincus was exactly in accordance with that of Garsault 1764. Laurenti (1768: 55) included two species, Scincus officinalis Laurenti, 1768 (a synonym of Lacerta scincus Linnaeus, 1758 ) from Egypt (with reference to Seba 1735) and one from " India orientali". We see no evidence contrasting the assumption that in Laurenti's times Garsault's specimen would have been classified with that first species. Dubois & Bour (2010) showed that some recent authors have classified Garsault's animal as a different subspecies or species, and intended to designate Scincus scincus var. laterimaculatus Werner, 1914 from western Algeria as the type species for Scincus Garsault, 1764 (we regard this as invalid under Art. 69.1, as explained above).

But if Dubois & Bour's (2010) procedure would be accepted - what would happen if some day the group is once again split up into even smaller units, and we discover that Garsault's specimen would have belonged to once again another highly microendemic taxon from eastern Morocco? Who would decide which classification should be used if there were different taxonomic opinions in the community? Then Dubois & Bour's (2010) use of Garsault's name would eventually have been inappropriate in the same way as Laurenti's 1768 use of the name, and (1) they would again have created another new name Scincus Dubois & Bour, 2010 (if we ignore here that this name was not expressly established as new, Art. 16.1), and (2) another author would have the right to fix once again a new type species for Garsault's name Scincus . And under each taxonomic classification the type species of the genus-group name would be different. This procedure would not be useful in the sense of providing stability of nomenclature. It would skip the basic ideas behind the Principle of Typification as expressed in Art. 61.1. So we would recommend to follow the Code as strictly as outlined above.