Originally published in the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, vol. 39, pt. 1, March 1982

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By R. M. Stainforth (2910 Cook St. Victoria B. C., Canada),
Kàroly Sztràkos (13 rue Gouveno, 77310 Ponthierry, France
and R. M. Jeffords (8002 Beverly Hill, Houston, Texas 77063, U.S.A

In the course of continuing appraisals of the stratigraphic value of Cenozoic planktonic foraminifers, virtually unused senior synonyms of two specific names in general use have been discovered. Although neither of the junior synonyms fully satisfies the requirements of Articles 23a-b, 79b of the Code, we believe that their importance in economic palaeontology justifies their conservation. One of the senior synonyms is a junior primary homonym.

2. Hantken, 1883, p. 11, pl. 2, figs. 3, 7, proposed Globigerina applanata and G. globosa for fossil foraminifers from the Eocene of Scarena (l’Escarène), Italy. These names have since been cited, so far as we can determine, only by Fornasini, 1899, prior to their redescription by Sztràkos, 1973. on the basis of Hantken’s original material found in the geological and palaeontological collection of the Hungarian National Museum.

3. Sztràkos designated, redescribed and illustrated a lectotype from among specimens identified by Hantken as Globigerina applanata in 1883 and assigned the species to Turborotalia. He also concluded that the species is transitional between Turborotalia cerroazulensis cerroazulensis (Cole, 1928) and T. c. pomeroli (Toumarkine & Bolli, 1970) and that its name is therefore a senior synonym of T. cerroazulensis (Cole) [Globorotalia cerroazulensis (Cole) of Stainforth et al., 1975].

4. Whereas Hantken’s name applanata was used only once before its revival by Sztràkos in 1973, cerroazulensis (described by Cole, 1928. p. 17 but now placed in Globorotalia) has been widely used in studies of Cenozoic foraminifers (e.g. Bermúdez, 1949; Cushman & Bermúdez, 1949; Bolli, 1957; Mallory, 1959; Bandy, 1964; Blow, 1969; Samanta, 1969; Toumarkine & Bolli, 1970; Postuma, 1971; Sigal, 1974; Stainforth et al., 1975; Barker & Blow, 1976). It is also an outstandingly useful index fossil used to designate a biostratigraphic zone in the late Eocene (e.g. Bandy, 1964; Bolli, 1966, 1972; Baumann, 1970; Toumarkine & Bolli, 1970; Raju, 1971; Jenkins & Orr, 1972; Stainforth et al. 1975).

5. Research on Cenozoic planktonic foraminifers has revealed the occurrence of a number of lineages of related species (and/or subspecies) in which successive forms are confined to relatively thin belts of strata (representing geologically short time intervals) over wide areas. They are thus of prime importance in the biostratigraphy of the Cenozoic and are an important tool in the hands of those involved in the search for hydrocarbons in Cenozoic rocks. They can, however, only be used effectively if adequate samples are available in good preservation from precisely known localities (e.g. exact depth in a borehole). The G. cerroazulensis lineage is an excellent example of this. It starts with G. c. pomeroli in the late Middle Eocene, followed by G. c. cerroazulensis, and culminating with G. c. cocoaensis in the late Eocene (there are later -forms in the early Oligocene). It is impossible to say where in this lineage G. applanata is to be placed, because the type sample is too small and too ill preserved, while the type locality and type horizon are known only in the most general way. Thus the replacement of any of the subspecific names in the cerroazulensis lineage by applanata — and there is no sound basis for choosing any particular subspecies — would cause widespread confusion. This would affect not only the published literature but also the working documents, chiefly unpublished analyses of wells and surface sections, used by economic paleontologists. The users of these reports are responsible for important financial decisions and will only be confused if presented with unfamiliar names.

6. Sztràkos, 1973, p. 226, pl. 2, figs. 1-3, also cited Globigerina globosa Hantken, 1883, p. 11, pl. 2, fig. 3; a ‘neotype’ [i.e. lectotype] was designated from among the several specimens in the material used by Hantken. Globigerapsis tropicalis Blow & Banner, 1962, p. 124, is cited by Sztràkos as a junior synonym, and the ‘neotype’ and associated specimens were interpreted as juvenile specimens of G. tropicalis. G. globosa Hantken was cited subsequently, so far as we can determine, only by Fornasini, 1899, prior to the work of Sztràkos. Globigerapsis tropicalis Blow & Banner, 1962, on the other hand is applied extensively (e.g. Eckert, 1964, 1965; Blow, 1969; Baumann 1970; Bolli, 1972; Campredon & Toumarkine, 1972; Subbotina, 1972; Stainforth et at. 1975; Toumarkine, 1975; Takayanagi & Oda, 1976).

7. Globigerina globosa Hantken, 1883, however, is a junior primary homonym of Globigerina globosa von Hagenow, 1842, a name that has never been used, so far as we can determine, since its original proposal and is both a nomen dubium and a forgotten name. Globigerapsis tropicalis Blow & Banner, 1962 is available under Article 60a to replace the junior primary homonym, which can be placed directly on the Official Index.

8. In view of the important economic contexts in which G. cerroazulensis (Cole, 1928) is used, we see no point[1] in giving that name nomenclatural precedence over G. applanata Hantken, 1883. The latter name can only he effectively used for the original material on which it was based. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is accordingly asked:

(1)                   to use its plenary powers to suppress the specific name applanata Hantken, 1883, as published in the binomen Globigerina applanata, for the purposes of the Law of Priority but not for those of the Law of Homonymy;

(2)                   to place the following names on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology:

(a)                   cerroazulensis Cole, 1928, as published in the binomen Globigerina cerroazulensis;

(b)                   tropicalis Blow & Banner, 1962, as published in the binomen Globigerapsis tropicalis;

(3)                   to place the following names on the Official Index of Rejected and Invalid Specific Names in Zoology:

(a)                   applanata Hantken, 1883, as published in the binomen Globigerina applanata, and as suppressed under the plenary powers in (1) above;

(b)                   globosa Hantken, 1883, as published in the binomen Globigerina globosa (a junior primary homonym of Globigerina globosa von Hagenow, 1842).


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— & BANNER, F. T. 1962. The Mid-Tertiary (Upper Eocene to Aquitanian) Globigerinaceae, in Eames. F. E., et al. Fundamentals of Mid-Tertiary stratigraphical correlation. Cambridge Univ. Press, pp. 61-151, figs. 6-20, pls. 8-17.

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— & BOLLI, H. M. 1970. Evolution de Globorotalia cerroazulensis (Cole) dans l’Eocène moyen et supérieur de Possagno (Italie). Rev. Micropaléont. vol. 13, pp. 131-145. 17 figs., 2 pls.

[1] In a letter dated 30 Nov 1984 concerning proof-reading galleys, RMS observed, “This sentence seems to be back to front, asserting just the opposite of what was intended. It should have read something like: ‘In view of the important contexts in which Globorotalia cerroazulensis (Cole, 1928) is used, we consider it undesirable to suppress this name and give precedence to its obscure senior synonym Globigerina applanata Hantken 1883.’”