[Taxacom] Esteemed Wuster gang admit Hoser got viper taxonomy correct - 2 years later - no apology yet!

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat Aug 2 22:16:03 CDT 2014

Yeah, Doug, right on! I thoroughly agree that any taxonomist who names new taxa or reclassifies existing ones on the basis of a single phylogenetic analysis should be marginalised and banned, as should any taxonomist who makes use of the work of others without giving due attribution! Gees, "poor scholarship"! That's unusual!! Shoot the ba$tard$!



On Sun, 3/8/14, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Esteemed Wuster gang admit Hoser got viper taxonomy correct - 2 years later - no apology yet!
 To: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Sunday, 3 August, 2014, 1:46 PM
 On 8/2/14 1:32 AM, Raymond Hoser -
 The Snakeman wrote:
 > Dear all,
 > This is a case of taxonomic vandalism (alleged) but
 shown not to be so.
 > Well it looks like after me (Raymond Hoser) being
 condemned by African 
 > snake handler Bill Branch and Wolfgang Wuster for the
 last 2 years, 
 > he's now (Branch) (without apology) come out and agreed
 with the 
 > taxonomy of my paper published in 2012 in terms of the
 African viper 
 > snakes of the genus Atheris.My paper:
 > Hoser, R. T. 2012. A division of the African Tree Viper
 genus Atheris 
 > Cope, 1860 into four subgenera (Serpentes:Viperidae).
 > Journal of Herpetology 12:32-35.
 > in 2012 divided this spectacular group into four
 subgenera (note 
 > subgenera and not full genera), the division of which
 has now also 
 > been recognized in a paper Branch is listed as a
 co-author of that 
 > came out in the last few weeks (see image here).
 > Of course I am chuffed at the fact my alleged taxonomic
 vandalism is 
 > now seen to be taxonomic accuracy.
 > As it happens, when splitting the genus four ways, I
 was able to use 
 > other people's names for three of the groups, because I
 comply with 
 > the zoological code rules and don't just coin names to
 steal the work 
 > of others using the reckless code defying scheme known
 as the "Kaiser 
 > veto".
 > I only named one group myself, namely Woolfvipera,
 being named after 
 > eminent Australian herpetologist Paul Woolf.
 > Will I get an apology from Wuster, Branch and the rest
 of the 
 > name-callers?
 > No way!
 This is a good example of just how bogus your claims of the
 novelty of 
 your work, and about how people are "vindicating you",
 really are. In 
 your 2012 paper, you based all four of your subgenera
 directly - and 
 explicitly - upon the four terminal groupsshown in Pyron et
 al.'s 2011 
 paper. YOU did not perform a phylogenetic analysis to
 determine that 
 these were groups, you looked at someone *else's* published
 and gave names to groups that THEY had found (and then tried
 to shoehorn 
 the species they had omitted from their analysis into the
 groups). Pyron et al. moved /Adenorhinus //barbouri/ into
 the genus 
 /Atheris/ (in their Figure 2 A, as /Atheris barbouri/), and
 yet you 
 implied in 2012 that you were making a *novel* decision that
 /Adenorhinus/ was not a valid genus ("Rather than recognize
 /Adenorh//inus/ as a genus...") - when others had ALREADY
 concluded that 
 /Adenorhinus/ was not a genus. More to the point, however,
 the new paper 
 (Menegon et al. 2014) contradicts Pyron et al,'s - and
 therefore your - 
 groupings, rather than supporting them. For example, you
 /mabuensis/ (which Pyron did not treat) in the same subgenus
 /matildae/, /ceratophora/, and /barbouri/ - but while the
 latter three 
 are grouped in the new study, /mabuensis/ is entirely
 unrelated to them, 
 and is instead related to /chloroechis/. You then grouped
 /desaixi/ and 
 /nitschei/ together in your subgenus /Woolfvipera/ because
 Pyron et al. 
 grouped them - and therefore got the groupings wrong,
 because /desaixi/ 
 (which you carelessly misspelled as "/desauxi/" - your
 editor and 
 reviewers need to be sacked!!) proves to be a member of the
 containing /chloroechis/ and /mabuensis/, as well, and not
 sister to 
 /nitschei/ at all. The only way in which your classification
 compatible with the Menegon study is that each of your four
 type species end up in a different clade, but the *other*
 of your subgenera are incompatible; in fact, three of your
 subgenera are constituted of species *not* matching the
 Menegon study's 
 conclusions! No small feat, given that we are talking about
 only 9 
 species in those three subgenera. I also note that some of
 the described 
 species are still omitted in the Menegon study, and would
 not be 
 surprised if they also prove not to belong to the groupings
 to which you 
 assigned them. I further note that you did not cite either
 the Lenk et 
 al. 2001 paper which also gave a phylogeny of /Atheris/
 also grouped /barbouri/ and /ceratophora/ as a clade, as
 well as 
 /squamigera/ and /hispida/, so those two groupings were
 well-supported in the literature well before Pyron et al.),
 or the 
 Wuster et al. 2008 paper on the same topic, and this is
 rather poor 
 scholarship on your part - though one can see exactly WHY
 you omitted 
 them: because Pyron et al. did not cite them, indicating
 that your 
 search for phylogenies was limited to only *that one paper*
 and its 
 reference section. Evidently, you picked one published
 phylogeny and 
 just blindly accepted it, without even checking to see if
 phylogenies including those taxa had been published
 elsewhere - i.e., 
 without doing the basic, thorough research one would expect
 from a 
 taxonomist doing legitimate revisionary work. Like I said,
 scholarship - and so much for "taxonomic accuracy".
 Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology 
      Entomology Research Museum
 Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 
    skype: dyanega
 phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not
    "There are some enterprises in which a
 careful disorderliness
          is the true method" -
 Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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