Nomenclature of the dolphins, porpoises, and small whales: a review and guide to the early taxonomic literature is a scientific monograph by Thomas A. Jefferson, published in 2021 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of its Professional Paper NMFS series. The monograph reviews and evaluates all 358 valid and invalid species names of “dolphin-like” cetaceans, which include the families Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, Monodontidae, Platanistidae, Iniidae, Pontoporiidae, and Lipotidae. The author provides detailed information on the type specimens, history, and status of each name, and aims to identify as many of the nomina dubia (names of doubtful identity) as possible.
Objective: To review and evaluate every named species of recent “dolphin-like” cetacean, document their type specimens, summarize the history of each name, and assign a status to each.
Goal: To help identify as many of the nomina dubia as possible, and to facilitate the inclusion of data and material from relevant type specimens into future taxonomic studies.
Background: Jefferson explains the importance of nomenclature for cetacean taxonomy and conservation, and the challenges of dealing with historical names and synonyms.
The outcome of this paper is a thorough and critical review of the nomenclature of the dolphins, porpoises, and small whales, based on the examination of the original descriptions, type specimens, and relevant literature. The paper provides a clear and updated summary of the status of each name, and identifies 61 nomina dubia that require further investigation. The paper also documents the type specimens of each name, and provides photographs, measurements, and illustrations of many of them.