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Wikipedia article was helpful

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Posted by: Ameron at Mon Jul 30 13:26:33 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Ameron ]  
   

It states:

Nevertheless, even before Utiger et al.'s publication, the paraphyly of Elaphe was already widely known for decades, but no taxonomist before Utiger et al. has formally proposed resurrecting Pantherophis as the generic name for the North American species of Elaphe, primarily because *the two genera cannot be distinguished from each other morphologically*.

Indeed, of the dozen or so old generic names Utiger et al. have resurrected from the synonymy of Elaphe in their attempt to reduce paraphyly, none of them can be distinguished from Elaphe morphologically and Utiger et al. did not provide any diagnostic characters for any of the genera they resurrected. Utiger et al. therefore provided no new information, and they made many distinctions without any difference.

They split Elaphe for no other reason than the same old cladistic *intolerance of paraphyletic taxa*. Recognizing Pantherophis contributes nothing to scientific progress because it is a distinction without a difference. Many reference materials still contain the old name Elaphe guttata.

*The old name remains valid, and no one is required to following Utiger et al.'s taxonomic proposal, even if other cladists follow their lead because of their shared intolerance of paraphyletic taxa.*

What makes sense to me? Keeping the known scientific names that show obvious subspecies with obvious trait differences which are duplicable:

Elaphe guttata Red Rat
Elapha obsoleta Black Rat
Elaphe rossalenni Everglades Rat
Elape schrencki Russian Rat


   

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