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RE: Elaphe or Pantherophis?

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Posted by: CKing at Mon Sep 3 03:08:26 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by CKing ]  
   

>>Why and who thought it should be changed Pantherophis (what does it mean?) V

A few years ago, Utiger et al. published a paper using a curious mix of taxonomic characters. They used mtDNA and hemipenis morphology to come up with a tree. Then they base their taxonomic proposal on that particular tree and carved it up so that only holophyletic groups (groups that consist of a single common ancestor and all of its descendants) are recognized. Since the recognition of such genera as Lampropeltis, Pituophis and Arizona renders Elaphe paraphyletic (i.e. does not include all of the descendants of a common ancestor), they then split up Elaphe into about a dozen genera, without ever defining these genera morphologically nor did they inform us how these genera differ from one another. The generic name for most North American species is Pantherophis, according to Utiger et al.'s proposal. Since many practicing taxonomists belong to the school of cladistics and since they share Utiger et al.'s intolerance of paraphyletic taxa, they immediately embraced the new proposal. Other, less knowledgeable people, also embraced the new proposal because they automatically assumed that the newest names must be the most correct. Since the name Pantherophis was published in one of those lists of "current scientific names", even more uninitiated people who have never read Utiger et al.'s proposal immediately assumed that Pantherophis must be the correct name.

The fact of the matter is that there is no official list of scientific names, because science is not a popularity contest, and there is no committee that decides whether one theory or another is proven. The ICZN is also not in the business of arbitrating which taxonomic proposals are correct or incorrect. Therefore the ICZN is not in any position to rule whether Pantherophis is the correct name for the North American ratsnakes like the corn snake, black ratsnake, fox snake, or Texas ratsnake.


   

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<< Previous Message:  RE: Elaphe or Pantherophis? - emysbreeder, Wed Jun 6 23:48:47 2012