Give me a chance to quote Gertrude Stein and I'll do so gladly. This time the opportunity was handed to me on a silver platter. On October 2021, almost out of the blue, the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP) published a paper with the "names and formal descriptions of 42 phyla to effect valid publication of their names..." Therein the ICSP was 'ordering' scientists all over the world to follow their rules to validly publish the rank of bacterial and archaeal phyla, according to the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes, or else... Good intentions. But you all know which road is paved with good intentions. Christoph tells me that the publication from the ICSP caused quite a stir on Twitter for a short time. (Is anything long-lived on Twitter?). The reason for the outcry?
In passing, almost buried among the many new phylum names, were the edicts to change two beloved names (and then some).
Firmicutes henceforth Bacillota!
Proteobacteria henceforth Pseudomonadota!
(Quite frankly, to me, these changes are... Idiota!)
I can only imagine the "stultifying" discussions that led to this "Procrustean bed" decision on taxonomy. (If you are curious about why I placed quotes on the two foregoing adjectives, please read the first paragraph of Woese and Goldenson (2009).) I am delighted to say that, since the initial publication of the name changes, I have read two excellent opinion papers highly critical of the ICSP and its decision (here and here). I hope Bacillota and Pseudomonadota don't stick.
Long live Firmicutes!
Long live Proteobacteria!
N.B. I would certainly be okay referring to them as Firmicuteota and Proteobacteriota, as proposed by Panda et al. (2022).