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Society for the History of Natural History

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SHNH John Thackray Medal is awarded to “Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology” “

SHNH John Thackray Medal is awarded to “Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology” “

SHNH Council is delighted to announce that the John Thackray Medal for 2014 goes to the publication of Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology (Northampton: Aves Press, 2011) by Dickinson, E. C., Overstreet, L. K., Dowsett, R. J. & Bruce, M. D.

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. It is available from

The Prize Committee assessed it as “a truly scholarly work … includ[ing] previously unknown facts with critical analysis of their importance … and … a completely original approach to the subject”; moreover, “a unique and essential source for taxonomists, particularly relevant for members of our society, which was founded as the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History”.

More information on the John Thackray Medal

The submission deadline for the 2015 John Thackray Medal is 31 July 2015.