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RE: C. bottae taxonomy

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Posted by: CKing at Wed Dec 3 13:40:52 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by CKing ]  

>>Actually, intuition was not involved with the manner in which I viewed the claim that a break occurred in the boa's distribution in the Mt. Lassen region. Instead, I relied on existing evidence, application of basic biological concepts, and rational thought processes to support my position. So where we disagree is that I cannot find any evidence, of a scientific nature, that would support the claim of a break in the species' distribution. >>

You relied on inference because at the time you made your conclusion, there was no known collection records that could invalidate Rodriguez-Robles' theory of a break in the distribution of this species. Sometimes inference can be correct, but sometimes it may lead to the wrong conclusion.

>>I do not consider that randomly collected vouchers which by chance, had tissue taken and tested, as representing evidence for claiming a break in any species' distribution let alone that of the Rubber Boa.>>

Certainly, the absence of evidence, in most cases, should not be considered evidence of absence. That appears to be Rodriguez-Robles' mistake.

>>But I do understand how the authors were misled by their data in reaching such a conclusion. After all, their data do show the two subclades as having quite separate geographical distributions. >>

Absolutely. That is why I said that their conclusion is scientific, since it is based on the available evidence.

>>How easy it is to criticize as it is free. But then one has to be aware of 'he who dare casts the first stone be without sin---or similar sage advice. Hah.
>>When I contacted Glenn about this point, I wasn't as 'forceful' as I am here as I thought that surely that glitch would be caught during the peer review process.>>

The peer review process is often overrated. Sometimes a paper based on bad data is approved, but sometimes a good paper is rejected because of personal animosity, fashion or partisan politics.

>>But such glitches aside, I agree that the results obtained by Javier's mtDNA research was an important step forward. In addition, at least for the time being, it also put to rest the notion of the Great Basis subspecies (C. b. utahensis).>>

>>I certainly agree with your last paragraph. I do not know exactly what Gould mentioned but I agree in the broad context. Too many individuals in and out of science accept scientific findings as if etched in stone. >>
>>Also, I have read and reviewed a number of scientific publications in which the experimental design and results obtained were quite nice. The mistakes I see being made are in the interpretation of those results. This is particularly true in the field of Conservation Biology where individuals have pre-existing biases that interfere with analyzing their results in an impartial and objective manner.
>>Richard F. Hoyer

Looks like we agree on many things. BTW, you mentioned in the past that you believe the ancestor of the rubber boa should be found in the mountains of northwestern Mexico. The most likely ancestor of the rubber boa, however, is Exiliboa, and it is found a lot farther south than you had suggested. It turns out there was a lot of climatic changes and other geologic disturbances in Northwestern Mexico over the past several million years. It is likely that Exiliboa once extended much farther north than its present day range but it has retreated to its present day location. Often we forget that the distribution of organisms do change over time, and that the ranges of some animals have expanded and contracted multiple times during their evolutionary history. That is why L. z. multifasciata is much more closely related to L. z. agalma than multifasciata is to either L. z. parvirubra or L. z. pulchra, even though multifasciata is much closer geographically to pulchra and parvirubra than to agalma. Similarly, the closest relatives of the Kern County boas are those from Tulare County, instead of those from southern California.


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