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From Merriam Webster:

tautonym: a taxonomic binomial in which the generic name and specific epithet are alike and which is common in zoology especially to designate a typical form but is forbidden to botany under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature

(My emphasis)

From basic research on Google I couldn't find a reason as to why this is.

Q: Why is tautonymy permitted in zoological nomenclature but forbidden in botanical nomenclature?

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    $\begingroup$ this should be helpful. jstor.org/stable/1219048 $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 10, 2023 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks John, I will look through this. How do you know this is the meeting where they set this rule? $\endgroup$
    – imrobert
    Nov 11, 2023 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not 100% sure I searched tautonym in the taxon database and it was the latest article discussing them, this one may be more relevent onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2307/1218008 and Volume19, Issue5 October 1970 Pages 787-788 may be even more relevent but I don't have access to a hard copy. thats why I dropped it as a comment not a na answer. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 12, 2023 at 2:02

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Short of someone from either one of those committees being on here and seeing the question the answer is "Because we said so".

The respective committees are the authorities on the subject and get to make their own rules, even if they aren't consistent with committees covering similar aspects in other areas of biology.

For those interested, the committees have their rules available online and the ones relevant to the question are 32.1c and 23.4 from the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants and 23.3.7 (under Chapter 6, Article 23, section 23.3; no direct link possible) for the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.

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  • $\begingroup$ I suspect they said so because they're trying to avoid the way that tautonyms are used to identify the "prototypical" species of a genus, given that there isn't really a fair way to choose a prototype so it'll always be based on some human bias. But I agree it is likely difficult to find any source that explains this rather than just stating the rule. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 10, 2023 at 1:23
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    $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause quite likely true. In botany at least, type is often indicated by "vulgaris" meaning "the common one" rather than a tautonym, and vulgaris was used in several examples, but I didn't put 2 and 2 together. However, usually a type is the first identified species, which I guess is typically the most common one, but not always, so vulgaris might not be appropriate in all cases $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Nov 10, 2023 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks bob and Bryan, this is helpful. Do the taxonomy commission meetings have public transcripts? $\endgroup$
    – imrobert
    Nov 11, 2023 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @imrobert No idea; you could try searching their websites. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Nov 12, 2023 at 4:36

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