Undue concern about morphospecies?

John Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Thu Jan 7 17:51:17 CST 1999


Perhaps the disinformation enterprise described by Peter Rauch also exists
within
conservation science. There is the strange (in my opinion) case of the "tobin".
This is a bird which resulted from a crossing between a black robin and a
chatham
Island tit in New Zealand. The hybrid was regarded by the government
conservation
"scientists" as a threat to the gene pool of its parents so after having a
nice cute phograph
taken (on someone's hand) the bird was shot forthwith.

No scientific defense
was ever made for this action, or several subsequent executions of further
hybrids. In what seems like a chilling mirror to Nazi ideology obsessed with
racial purity, taxonomy here is being drafted in support of  pogroms against
the undesirable elements of biodiversity. Executions of humans to "save the
race"
(for the birds it is the "gene pool") is called genocide.

The identify of persons directly responsble for this policy
and its implementation remain a State Sceret under the Official Information
Act,
and cabinet ministers of governments both "left" and "right" of the political
spectrum have refused scrutiny of these actions.

I think the lesson here is if one is concerned about what species concepts
to use,
then the ideological implications might one of the considerations for it
seems that
scientists do not appear out of thin air, but evolve in a socio-political
matrix which
imposes its own historical burden. In this case this burden was a death
warrant for
the tobin.

John Grehan




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