The new Miocene sperm whale Leviathan is now Livyatan
August 26, 2010
A bit frightening to realise it’s been more than a month since the last SV-POW! post. We have some excuse for that: I am just back from a fortnight’s holiday with my family, and shortly before that Matt was at a conference in Uruguay. Still, a whole month?
And this post is going to be disappointingly short and off-topic — it’s just a bit of housekeeping really.
Back at the end of June, I pointed out on this blog that the awesome new Miocene sperm whale Leviathan was a junior synonym of Koch’s name Leviathian which he introduced as a more than usually stupid synonym of Mammut, the mastodon. (See the original piece for the gory details.)
I am pleased to note that this has now been resolved: the authors of the new Leviathan paper have published a short corrigendum proposing the replacement name Livyatan, resulting in the new combination Livyatan melvillei. Since the corrigendum is so short, here it is in its entirety:
The genus name Leviathan, proposed in this Letter for a new fossil physeteroid from the Miocene of Peru, is preoccupied by Leviathan Koch, 1841 (ref. 1), a junior subjective synonym of Mammut Blumenbach, 1799 (ref. 2). We propose here a replacement name Livyatan gen. nov. The type species is placed in this genus to form the binomial Livyatan melvillei. The diagnosis and content of the new genus follow our Letter. ‘Livyatan’ is a Hebrew name applied to large marine monsters in popular and mythological stories. We thank M. P. Taylor and D. Yanega for bringing this to our attention.
It’s nice to get a mention, though a shame they weren’t able to include a link to SV-POW!. Probably Nature‘s guidelines don’t allow that — they wouldn’t be alone — and in any case we’ve hardly been a friend to the Nature Publishing Group, so maybe we’d have even less reason to expect any love from them :-)