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Contributions to Zoology, 76 (3) – 2007

Short notes and reviews

A nomenclatural note on the Miocene dormouse Quercomys parsani Daams, 1991

Israel García-Paredes1,2, Lars W. van den Hoek Ostende3

1.  Department of Paleontology, Faculty of Geology, C/ José Antonio Novais, University Complutense of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain

2.  Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, CSIC, c/ José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain,

3.  Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, Naturalis, Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR Leiden, The Netherlands,

In 1991 two papers appeared which featured Miocene Gliridae. Álvarez Sierra et al. (1991) documented Oligo-Miocene micromammals from the Ebro basin, including the description of various new species. Daams (1991) published a paper on hypsodont Myomiminae from Spain. The two papers appeared in consecutive issues, 94 and 95 respectively, of Scripta Geologica.

There has been confusion about the publication date of these articles. Generally, the publication date of the species described in both papers is given as 1990 (e.g., Daams and de Bruijn, 1995). The source of this confusion probably lies in the reprints, on which 1990 is given as the appearance date, both on the cover and in the headers. However, in the bibliographical reference at the beginning of each article a different date is given. For Álvarez Sierra et al. the month of publication is given as February 1991, for the Daams paper April 1991. Article 22.2 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN, 1999) states: ‘The date of publication specified in a work is to be adopted as correct in the absence of evidence to the contrary’. Additionally, we checked the issues in the library of the Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum/Naturalis, the publisher of Scripta Geologica, and found that issue 94 was received and stamped on 17 May 1991, issue 95 on 21 June 1991. So, based on this, it is clear that the correct year of publication is 1991, and that Álvarez Sierra et al. (1991) was published earlier than Daams (1991). For the sake of completeness, the various species described in these papers are listed in Table 1.

The order of publication has consequences for one of the species described in both articles. Álvarez Sierra et al. (1991: 40) gave a description of Quercomys parsani Daams, 1991 from La Galocha 5. In this description they refer to the, at that time unpublished, paper of Daams. Daams (1991: 7) gave a full description of Armantomys parsani with Ramblar 1 as the type locality. He selected RGM 337724, a left M1, as the holotype of the species. The different genus name was a consequence of him synonymizing Quercomys with Armantomys in the same paper.

It is clear that Daams intended the description given in Daams (1991) to be the original description of the species. In this paper he gives headings for the diagnosis, the holotype, derivation nominis, et cetera. However, given the earlier publication date of Álvarez Sierra et al. (1991), the question arises whether the description given there fulfils the requirements of the ICZN and should, in fact, be considered as the original description of the species.


Table 1. New (sub)species names proposed in Álvarez Sierra et al. (1991) and Daams (1991).

As the species was published before 1999 it is not necessary that in the description the name is indicated as intentionally new, as is required after 1999 (ICZN: art. 16). However, what is required is ‘a description or definition that states in words characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon’ (ICZN: art. 13). Álvarez Sierra et al. (1991: 41) stated that ‘Our Quercomys assemblages from San Juan and La Galocha 5 present the following characteristics: The M1 is longer than the M2, but it is more or less of the same width. Centrolophids are present in various lower molars. Centroloph-like ridges are present in several M1,2. Its molars are relatively hypsodont.’ This can be considered a diagnosis, except that the material from San Juan was attributed to Quercomys daamsi de Visser 1991, described in the same paper. The differences between Quercomys parsani and Q. daamsi are stated in the differential diagnosis of the latter (Álvarez Sierra et al., 1991: 38): ‘Quercomys parsani from La Galocha 5 is larger than Q. daamsi from San Juan and it lacks a centrolophid. Furthermore, centroloph-like ridges are present in M1 and M2. Only 2 M1 and no M2 have an isolated metaloph.’

Thus, the description in Álvarez Sierra et al. (1991) fulfils all the requirements of the code and, as it was published earlier, should be considered the original description. Therefore, La Galocha 5 is the type locality; the holotype from Ramblar 1 selected by Daams (1991) is invalid (ICZN 73.1.3). The authors in Álvarez Sierra et al. clearly indicated who was responsible for which new name, and since they described the name as Quercomys parsani Daams, 1991, we consider the authorship of that name restricted to Daams (ICZN: art. 50.1). No holotype was selected and all of the material should be considered as syntypes. Since the La Galocha assemblage is considered to be homogeneous, there is no reason for selecting a lectotype. The type series of Quercomys parsani is stored in the collections of the Department of Palaeontology of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

This nomenclatural note does not, of course, influence the findings of Daams (1991), who synonymised Quercomys with Armantomys; since that paper involves a recombination of the generic and species names, the current name of the species is Armantomys parsani (Daams, 1991).

Received: 14 March 2007.

Accepted: 11 June 2007.


Jan van Tol (Leiden) reviewed the paper and pointed out the dates of publication as given in the Naturalis library. The comments of a second, anonymous reviewer helped us to clearer formulate the text. Steve Donovan (Leiden) made some linguistic suggestions.


Álvarez Sierra, MA, Daams R, Lacomba JI, López Martínez N, Meulen AJ van der, Sesé C, Visser J de. 1991. Paleontology and biostratigraphy (micromammals) of the continental Oligocene-Miocene deposits of the North-Central Ebro Basin (Huesca, Spain). Scripta Geologica 94: 1-77.

Daams R. 1991. Hypsodont Myomiminae (Gliridae, Rodentia) from the Miocene and Oligocene-Miocene boundary interval of Spain. Scripta Geologica 95: 1-63.

Daams R, Bruijn H de. 1995. A classification of the Gliridae (Rodentia) on the basis of dental morphology. Hystrix (n.s.) 6 (1-2): 3-50.

ICZN 1999. International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, 4th edition. London: The International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature.