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RE: C. bottae taxonomy

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Posted by: RichardFHoyer at Sun Nov 30 00:51:08 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by RichardFHoyer ]  
   

CK,
You mention: "Their conclusion was scientific because it was based on the available evidence at the time."

We have discussed this point before. I contend that there was no evidence and thus no scientific basis for making the assertion that a break occurred in the distribution of the Rubber Boa in the vicinity of Mt. Lassen Nat. Park. When I read the draft of the paper, that very point stood out like a sore thumb. But at the time, I wasn't able to convince Glenn of my reasoning and it seems that I have not been convincing with you as well.
.
Having tissue taken and tested from two specimens from distant localities does not represents scientific evidence of a break in distribution for any species. Had the two nearest specimens tested from the two subclades been from near Portland, Oregon and Yosemite Park, would that indicate a break in the species distribution somewhere between those two localities?

Where samples of tissue originate has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the distribution of a species whether such samples were taken from specimens 500 meters or 500 km apart.. And I found no attempt at any scientific inquiry with respect to whether or not a break occurs in the boas distribution in that region.

Had the authors conducted some survey for the species in that region, had they made inquiries with rangers, biologists, ranchers, and other residents in the region, had they undertaken an analysis of habitat and elevation components of the species distribution and accepted the concept of habitat association, had they conferred with experts in the history of climate and geology in the region, or had they simply consulted institutional records for vouchers in that region, then I would agree that they had some scientific basis to assert that a break occurs in the species distribution.

The first error was indicating a distance of 120 km between the two nearest specimens of each subclade, one at Eagle Lake (Northwestern Subclade) and one in Nevada County (Sierra Nevada subclade) by overlooking a much closer Sierra Nevada subclade specimen that occurred just east of Quincy in central Plumas County. And had the authors simple examined the list of vouchers in the MVZ collection at Berkeley, they would have noted two specimens closer to Mt. Lassen then either the Eagle Lake or Quincy specimens.

The MVZ printout (I obtained in about 2000) has a specimen found at Silver Lake in Lassen Co. which is about 15 mile due east of the summit of Mt. Lassen and about 25 -30 miles southeast of the Eagle Lake specimen. Also, there is a specimen from Morgan Springs (Ranch) about 10 -12 miles due south of the Mt. Lassen summit in northeastern Tehama Co. and about 12 - 15 miles west of Chester. Either of those two specimens dispel any notion of a break occurring in the species' distribution in the Mt. Lassen region.

Richard F. Hoyer


   

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