Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology

A Directory to the Literature and its Reviewers

Published by Aves Press

Awarded the 2015 John Thackray medal.

This medal is awarded for a significant achievement in the preceding three years in the history of those areas of interest to the Society for the History of Natural History, that is the biological and earth sciences in the broadest sense.


This is the first book to explain the importance of priority in relation to names in ornithology and in the context of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Backgrounds are first provided on the Code and on printing and publishing over the last 250 years. The compilers then bring together reports on 148 books and 121 periodicals in zoology which, between them, present almost all the challenges that can make date determination problematic.

The reports provide links to the published authorities and are supported by tables containing extensive detail about the subsidiary parts or issues with their pagination and dates. This book and the included CD ROM are a searchable treasure trove.

The FREE CD being prepared for issue with Priority! will be the equivalent of at least 250 extra pages of text. In total there are 66 tables. The first 18 are relate to books which are dealt with in chapter 3, the next 47 support the texts relating to periodicals examined in chapter 4. For example extensive tables deal with The Auk, the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, Condor, Emu, Ostrich and the Wlison Bulletin. Others deal with museum publications which hold content from more disciplines than just ornithology. For example considerable detail is provided on the Mémoires of the Academy of Science in St. Petersburg, the publications of the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Philippine Journal of Science etc.

These 65 tables are printable and yield about 158 pages. Table 66 will compare dates of publication given in Peters' Check-list with those used in the 2003 edition of the Howard & Moore Checklist and the coming edition of that! Footnotes in that edition will be very brief and refer to this table! This has almost 1500 rows of content and compressed to allow printing on landscape pages just wide enough to hold the content this table will print out at 34 pages. On top of that comes a file of explanatory notes regarding table 66 with references where required and that file is over 20 pages long. So after the compression of table 66 to make it more user-friendly the CD runs to about 220 pages not 250.