[Taxacom] Economist leader addressed to taxonomists

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.co.nz
Thu May 17 21:27:48 CDT 2007


I don't have a problem with a plea for honest taxonomists. They rate 
right up there for probity alongside the honest leader writers.

However, I am wondering about the background 'facts', especially the 
validity of the unsourced claim that the rising tally of monkeys is 
because monkey subspecies have been inflated to species.

Namely "Today there are twice as many primate species as there were then 
[the 60s?]. That is not because a new wave of primatologists has 
emerged, pith-helmeted, from the jungle with hitherto unknown specimens. 
It is because a lot of established subspecies have been reclassified as 
species."

I don't have any info on the amount of reclassification, but really no 
wave of new specimens from the jungle? See the below where there are 38 
new taxa in this list of primates described since 1990 (up to 2002), and 
15 happen to be new subspecies! That's a lot of new taxa. And I'm not 
likely to forget the infamous photo-only new monkey from Africa of 2005 
(a dead specimen turned up later and was promptly placed in a new genus).

http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/aboutp/taxonomy/newspecies.html

Geoff
-- 
   Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.co.nz>
    http://www.annelida.net/
    http://www.niwascience.co.nz/ncabb/






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