Taxa and Diagnoses

WCS Gallon Jug galljug at BTL.NET
Thu Apr 10 18:04:44 CDT 1997

>     To my mind it is a waste of everybody's time to erect a
>taxon that cannot be efficiently, even conveniently, identified.

following up on above thread...

Will it not be imperative that new taxa be identifiable as such if there are
to persist in the wild.  Little good it does to have new taxa defined that
can not be identified as they may be overlooked and disappear with the next
round of forest clearing of other habitat modification/removal and be
relegated like the dodo to survive as a museum only based specimen.

A finer delineation of taxa is much better for conservation issues as more
unique habitats and species can be "protected" at least on paper.  If taxa
are soooo obscure as to only be separated with a CRAY using some obscure
molecular data or software construct of branching patterns it will be very
difficult to convince global decision makers that they really need to be set
aside for protection.

How does one convince the powers that be that cryptic species are real and
NOT just high tech constructs of taxonomists passing through a new wave of
high tech splitting?

Just a thought from a closet taxonomist in the conservation field.

Bruce W. Miller
Associate Conservation Zoologist

Tropical Forest and Reserve Planning Project
   Belize Biodiversity Information System
      Assessing Biodiversity Through Science
          Wildlife Conservation Society
              Gallon Jug, Belize
galljug at

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