Are species real?---tuatara

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Apr 12 22:48:33 CDT 2006

Actually I did have to search the web after being challenged.  :-)   However, even if I hadn't found Hay et al.'s paper, I would still have been skeptical.  After all, it is surprising enough that a single tuatara has managed to hang in there as a relict species throughout the entire Tertiary, much less that a second tinier relict species would only manage to survive on a single tiny offshore island.  The odds against the latter must be pretty substantial (especially given connections to mainland New Zealand as recently as the last dozen thousand years or so).

     I guess I'm lucky in this case that the evidence was already available and published.  However, with the close relationship of scorpions and sea-scorpions, I had to wait several years (after I published my classification) for definitive evidence to confirm my strong suspicions that a Class Scorpionea was holophyletic (and that scorpions cannot be cladistically embedded within Class Arachnidea).  The older I get, the more I trust my instincts, whether the most recent publication agrees with it or not.  I just feel compelled to call them as I see them, whether it is popular or not.  As for the aardvark, two relict species of them coexisting in sub-Saharan Africa (no islands involved at all that I know of) seems even less likely.  If there is any evidence at all of two species of aardvark, I'd be happy to evaluate it (but I'm not holding my breath).
           Ken Kinman

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