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Free Content Botanical nomenclature and plant fossils

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The provisions in the Code for naming plant fossil taxa have changed substantially over the years. The history of these changes reflects the tension between palaeobotanists (including palynologists studying plant microfossils) who need a flexible set of regulations, and the tendency for the Code to include nomenclatural regulations that constrain taxonomic decisions. The current Vienna Code now provides for plant fossils to be named as fossil taxa, which is a flexible taxonomic concept that should suit the needs of most palaeobotanists. However, the Vienna Code also incorporates the more restrictive concept of morphotaxa and most palaeobotanists seem to be under the misapprehension that plant fossils can only be named as morphotaxa. In our view, the concept of morphotaxa is logically flawed and unnecessary in practice, and should be removed from the Code.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biodiversity & Systematic Biology, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Cardiff CF10 3NP, U.K. 2: Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, University of Aberystwyth, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth SY23 3AL, U.K.

Publication date: 2010-02-01

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