Milksnake changes published

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Travis_W_Taggart
Posts: 31
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 1:00 pm

Milksnake changes published

Post by Travis_W_Taggart » December 11th, 2013, 7:34 am

Coalescent species delimitation indicates that L. triangulum is not monophyletic and that there are multiple species of milksnake, which increases the known species diversity in the genus Lampropeltis by 40%.

http://sysbio.oxfordjournals.org/conten ... LuO6SLs6Vs

Edit: Technically, this is pre-publication but accepted. Expect it to be formerly published (with regard to ICZN) in early 2014.

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Zach_Lim » December 11th, 2013, 8:46 am

Thank you for the link/article.

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 11th, 2013, 8:51 am

Well, that really makes things simpler... :roll: Another crock...
Are they saying that the red milks from KS are now gentilis, but the Red milks from MO (across an imaginary line) are now L. triangulum? Wonderful. :sleep:

Travis_W_Taggart
Posts: 31
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 1:00 pm

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Travis_W_Taggart » December 11th, 2013, 9:28 am

Brian, whether or not you like the systematic approach they use, it isn't going back to the way it was. For whatever flaws you think there are (e.g. sampling) this paper is a positive jump from where we were before.
Subsequent sampling will better define the boundaries and the picture will become even more clear. There is still a lot of work to be done collecting samples in SE Kansas, SW Missouri, N Arkansas, S Texas, and Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
- Travis

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 11th, 2013, 9:41 am

I can live with the species as described, as long as they get the ranges and hybrid zones correct. I'll just call the old subspecies "morphs", except for taylori, which doesn't seem to have any distinguishing features to set it apart, except in certain places. Thanks for sharing this and for your un-yielding answer. As usual. :lol: 8-) but, for those of us who still like morphology better...it's still a crock. What does ancient lineage have to do with how animals look today?

It might be a little better than than the getula split, which was ill-conceived, sloppy and idiotic, and which I will NEVER accept, but it will still confuse the masses.

User avatar
klawnskale
Posts: 1211
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:09 pm

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by klawnskale » December 11th, 2013, 10:15 am

Well Brian, I guess that means you would be unwilling to accept the recent findings by genetic anthropologists that present day Homo sapiens also carries Neanderthal genes and that a recently discovered separate species of Hominid was identified in Europe by these same lab techniques as used on the milksnakes. In other words, looks can be deceiving.

User avatar
Fundad
Posts: 5722
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:11 am
Location: Los Angeles County
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Fundad » December 11th, 2013, 10:33 am

The Lampro Linage tree in this paper is really really cool..

Fundad

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by hellihooks » December 11th, 2013, 10:35 am

Brian Hubbs wrote: I will NEVER accept, but it will still confuse the masses.
Sounds like religious dogma, to me (get it...'masses'?) :lol: :lol: and come to think of it... I think 'Neanderthal' every time I see Hubbs... :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: :lol: jim

User avatar
Jon Wedow
Posts: 201
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:38 am
Location: Canada

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Jon Wedow » December 11th, 2013, 11:40 am

This post should be a good read in a couple days. I kind of like this although I'm still wrapping my brain around what is what and which lines match up or overlap.

User avatar
chrish
Posts: 3298
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
Location: San Antonio, TX
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by chrish » December 11th, 2013, 11:45 am

A step in the right direction certainly, but the hybrid zones need to be more thoroughly elucidated IMHO.

The whole idea of drawing a map with abrupt boundaries between widely hybridizing species is a bit strange. And it seems like the lowlands of Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi got missed in the study. Fortunately milksnake tissue is easy to find in this part of Mexico....you just peel it off the truck tires.

Image

User avatar
gbin
Posts: 2293
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 3:28 pm

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by gbin » December 11th, 2013, 1:56 pm

chrish wrote:... it seems like the lowlands of Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi got missed in the study...
Doesn't this (from p.67) cover that area?
Lampropeltis annulata Kennicot 1861
The oldest known subspecies within the proposed range of the Tamaulipas lineage is L. t. annulata. Lampropeltis annulata was originally described as a distinct species, with the holotype from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico (Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 3613). We designate the Tamaulipas lineage as Lampropeltis annulata. Subspecies synonymized with L. annulata include L. t. dixoni.

Range: Based on our sampling, L. annulata is found in the Mexican states of Nuevo León, Querétaro, and Tamaulipas. It is likely that this species is also found in Coahuila, eastern San Luis Potosi, and Hidalgo.

Diagnosis: Following the descriptions L. t. annulata and L. t. dixoni from Williams (1988), the body pattern of L. annulata consists of incomplete red rings that are interrupted by black rings that cross the venter. The head is black.
Looks like a fun and interesting paper, though I've so far only briefly skimmed it. Thanks for sharing it here, Travis!

Gerry

User avatar
justinm
Posts: 3430
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Location: Illinois
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by justinm » December 11th, 2013, 2:23 pm

Travis you never write you never call... Thanks for this though, I'm glad something has been done. Let me know if you're involved in sampling. I'll show you how to herp Kansas and Missouri better.

User avatar
Don Becker
Posts: 3355
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
Location: Iowa
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Don Becker » December 11th, 2013, 4:46 pm

Travis_W_Taggart wrote:Subsequent sampling will better define the boundaries and the picture will become even more clear. There is still a lot of work to be done collecting samples in SE Kansas, SW Missouri, N Arkansas, S Texas, and Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
- Travis
So why didn't they wait to publish the paper until after they did the work and got more samples?

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 11th, 2013, 4:51 pm

Stebbins wrote what he thought of this kind of "publishing" in his Foreword to Alan St. Johns "Reptiles of the Northwest" book:

"...especially given the controversy over rapid-fire genetic-based revisions that are designating new species in the absence of adequate field studies."

Of course, he was just Robert Stebbins. What did he know... :roll:

Travis_W_Taggart
Posts: 31
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 1:00 pm

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Travis_W_Taggart » December 11th, 2013, 7:09 pm

So why didn't they wait to publish the paper until after they did the work and got more samples?
Regardless of how much sampling is done, that argument can always be made... there will always be gaps/questions. The 276 samples used in this study is exceptional. They used nuclear genes, and even illustrated that the mitochondrial genes were off. They had enough data to put forth their hypotheses. Their primers and sequence data are available to anyone that would like to test those hypotheses or just figure out what is in the gaps.
...rapid-fire genetic-based revisions that are designating new species in the absence of adequate field studies.
This was not one of those studies.

User avatar
Don Becker
Posts: 3355
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:21 am
Location: Iowa
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Don Becker » December 11th, 2013, 8:12 pm

Travis_W_Taggart wrote:The 276 samples used in this study is exceptional.
Well yeah, it's much better than the Fox Snake paper. What was that? 27 samples? And while 276 samples may be exceptional, the distribution of the samples does not seam ideal. There are areas with a large number of samples, and areas lacking samples. Notably, boundary areas between species are missing samples, as well as the hybridization area around Tennessee. The hybrid area along the East coast doesn't even appear to have been sampled at all. What is the basis for labeling those as hybrid zones?

User avatar
Cole Grover
Posts: 745
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 9:06 am
Location: Montana

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Cole Grover » December 12th, 2013, 7:51 am

Interesting stuff. This is, in virtually every way, shape, and form, just an exceprt from her dissertation. Lots of good data, lots of "holes" in sampling, and some "interesting" interpretations of that data. Not wrong, but not necessarily right, either...

Oh, and what the hell is going on with the range maps in the western US?! MT, WY, and CO are waaaaay off... Not that it's a major issue for this phylogeography study, but couldn't the author(s) have bothered to look up documented records to base their maps on?
psyon wrote: So why didn't they wait to publish the paper until after they did the work and got more samples?
Don, sometimes being first is apparently more important than being right. This is largely a cut-and-paste from Sara's doctoral dissertation, sans a few of the errors and omissions found therein. In all fairness, it would really suck for someone else to publish something using her work before she did. I can understand that.


-Cole

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 12th, 2013, 8:20 am

Well Cole, oops...there goes your Pales... :lol: :roll:

I think I have a new idea...instead of calling my milk snake book "Milk Snakes", I'll change it to "Snakes That We Think Exist". 8-)

User avatar
Cole Grover
Posts: 745
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 9:06 am
Location: Montana

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Cole Grover » December 12th, 2013, 8:27 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:Well Cole, oops...there goes your Pales...
Yeah, but I think we both knew that was coming anyway. It stings, but it'll have to do.
Brian Hubbs wrote: think I have a new idea...instead of calling my milk snake book "Milk Snakes", I'll change it to "Snakes That We Think Exist".
Ha ha ha! I'll probably still buy it.

User avatar
chrish
Posts: 3298
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
Location: San Antonio, TX
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by chrish » December 12th, 2013, 12:42 pm

Even though it doesn't cover every possible zone of contact to the nth degree, I think it is pretty reasonable.

Ignoring color pattern and band counts and silly things like that and just looking at their morphology, I have always thought there should be Eastern, Western, Southeastern, Western Gulf Coast, Central American, and South American and maybe a 7th west mexican species of milksnake and this paper affirms that general feeling.

The whole gentilis/amaura/syspila/annulata area of contact is a mess, but this is a start at least. At least it finally separates the big snakes of Central America from the Eastern and Southeastern species.

Now how you deal with many broad zones of hybridization from a philosophical view is a personal decision I guess. :crazyeyes:

User avatar
Jeff
Posts: 531
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 5:01 am
Location: Louisiana

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Jeff » December 12th, 2013, 2:03 pm

Like Travis said
Regardless of how much sampling is done, that argument can always be made... there will always be gaps/questions.
Anytime you evaluate a point inside of a gap, you create two gaps.

My one complaint from the point of a United States inventory is that the authors did not evaluate a sample from southern Texas. One would hypothesize that they are allied to the annulata from Tamaulipas. But no samples ?!?! Somebody, please help these folks out...

Jeff

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 12th, 2013, 6:21 pm

Jeff: We now have two herpetologys...1) DNA BS, and 2) The way things are TODAY. I belong to the 2nd group... :lol:

User avatar
Jeff
Posts: 531
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 5:01 am
Location: Louisiana

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Jeff » December 13th, 2013, 6:48 pm

We now have two herpetologys...1) DNA BS, and 2) The way things are TODAY. I belong to the 2nd group
(Ahem.... herpetologies, please)

I belong to the 3rd group -- Total data. For example, paleontological data: what is Lampropeltis similis, and what does it tell us about the history of the L. triangulum complex?

You are correct about the study of the present, because it is simple and accurate. But the present is always based on the past in some manner. An example of that statement is Fitch's study in Kansas. Species increased and declined over the five decades that he studied the site, and often the answer was in the immediate past: at first, it was an open farm/oldfield that, through vegetative succession, became forested. In future millennia, glade species may become genetically differentiated by fragmentation. In that millennial future, someone might use DNA to determine the level of differentiation.

On a more instantaneous level: "Why am I not finding as many kings at my site?" Answer: some covetous clown discovered your board line! That has, however brief, become a historical factor in the population structure of the species of interest. That factor can be evaluated by analysis of DNA.

Heading back in the posterior direction, one could estimate causative effects from more than 50 years back, or to the Miocene origin of Lampropeltis, or anywhere in between. Believe it or else, some folks (e.g., paleontologists) are interested in such things, and the information they retrieve is often applicable to current circumstances.

There are those, who through dogged will and skill, provide data.

There are those, who through hypothetical-deductive study, attempt to discern the historical, or prehistorical factors that caused the observation.

Why are there so many geographically restricted 'morphs' of the California Kingsnake in southern California? Is it because a bunch of German's planted orange groves in the late 1800s?

DNA might provide an answer.

Jeff

User avatar
Fundad
Posts: 5722
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:11 am
Location: Los Angeles County
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Fundad » December 13th, 2013, 7:24 pm

(Ahem.... herpetologies, please)

I belong to the 3rd group -- Total data. For example, paleontological data: what is Lampropeltis similis, and what does it tell us about the history of the L. triangulum complex?

You are correct about the study of the present, because it is simple and accurate. But the present is always based on the past in some manner. An example of that statement is Fitch's study in Kansas. Species increased and declined over the five decades that he studied the site, and often the answer was in the immediate past: at first, it was an open farm/oldfield that, through vegetative succession, became forested. In future millennia, glade species may become genetically differentiated by fragmentation. In that millennial future, someone might use DNA to determine the level of differentiation.

On a more instantaneous level: "Why am I not finding as many kings at my site?" Answer: some covetous clown discovered your board line! That has, however brief, become a historical factor in the population structure of the species of interest. That factor can be evaluated by analysis of DNA.

Heading back in the posterior direction, one could estimate causative effects from more than 50 years back, or to the Miocene origin of Lampropeltis, or anywhere in between. Believe it or else, some folks (e.g., paleontologists) are interested in such things, and the information they retrieve is often applicable to current circumstances.

There are those, who through dogged will and skill, provide data.

There are those, who through hypothetical-deductive study, attempt to discern the historical, or prehistorical factors that caused the observation.

Why are there so many geographically restricted 'morphs' of the California Kingsnake in southern California? Is it because a bunch of German's planted orange groves in the late 1800s?

DNA might provide an answer.

Jeff
:thumb:

Fundad

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 13th, 2013, 7:51 pm

I provided the answer to that kingsnake morph question in my book. WETLANDS, wetlands, wetlands...Helllooooo?

Image

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 14th, 2013, 6:42 pm

The fact that they look exactly like the "triangulum" across the state line...

herpfriend
Posts: 51
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 6:59 pm

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by herpfriend » December 14th, 2013, 8:56 pm

Brian,
I have seen a gentilis influence in some of the red milks in west central MO. Specifically, the first several red bands encroach on the ventrals. They can't make a line saying that everything on one side is gentilis and the other side is triangulum. Just like you can't say everything east of the Flint Hills is holbrooki and splendida to the west. There has to be an area of integradation, or hybridization if you go with the new species theory. I find holbrooki in west central MO that look exactly like the kingsnakes of western KS (bright yellow and the spots cover most of the scale).

WW**
Posts: 240
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by WW** » December 16th, 2013, 3:52 am

psyon wrote:
Travis_W_Taggart wrote:Subsequent sampling will better define the boundaries and the picture will become even more clear. There is still a lot of work to be done collecting samples in SE Kansas, SW Missouri, N Arkansas, S Texas, and Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
- Travis
So why didn't they wait to publish the paper until after they did the work and got more samples?
With infinite time and infinite resources, scientists could do an infinitely perfect job ;)
Sadly, we get neither, so the rest of the world will have to live with the imperfections.

More seriously, all scientific research is subject to any number of constraints: project duration is limited, PhD funding is limited, grants are limited, researchers move on to new jobs and new projects, and scientists are expected to produce output by the time they want to move to the next stage. Science is a human endeavour that will inevitably bear the hallmarks of all human weaknesses, including the desire of scientists to have a job, a home, a life, some money etc. The best that scientists will ever be able to do is to add a sizeable chunk to the sum total of human knowledge. As far as the Ruane et al. paper is concerned, we know a heck of a lot more about Lampropeltis than we did before, and like in any good study, there are gaps that need to be filled. Let's hope somoene does fill them.

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 822
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » December 16th, 2013, 4:58 am

Jeff wrote:Anytime you evaluate a point inside of a gap, you create two gaps.
I love how elegantly simple and true this statement is!
Brian Hubbs wrote:What does ancient lineage have to do with how animals look today?
Taxonomy as a science should reflect evolutionary history, and species level splits (by my book) have to meet standards of reproductive isolation (although they don't always do...). In theory, although of course generally strongly correlated, morphology has nothing to do with it. Good taxonomic research includes different sources of data. Valuing external morphology over molecular data is as flawed as the opposite. A taxonomy that only uses elements that the human eye can see is by definition limited, flawed and even susceptible to the moment in history (cf. drawings of animals from when Linnaeus was alive).

That research is bound by funding can be counterproductive, but I think WW commented adequately on that.

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 16th, 2013, 9:58 am

Lineage is fine in a historical context note, but we need to give names and descriptions that make sense to what we see today, and understand how these animals interact TODAY. Period. The lineage mumbo jumbo can be studied as a side note and help us understand where a future problem may lie genetically, but other than that it has no relevance to what we witness in the wild and how we can put a meaningful name to what we witness. I'm talking about ease of recognition in the field, not recognition with a portable DNA kit. Morphology works just fine (except in the case of the Copes and Gray treefrogs). 8-)

User avatar
Gluesenkamp
Posts: 290
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 6:57 am
Location: Texas

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Gluesenkamp » December 16th, 2013, 10:05 am

That is not the dumbest thing I have ever heard but it is definitely tied for third. While we are at it, let's just get rid of phylogenetic systematics and the comparative method. Nothing cool ever came from understanding the evolutionary history of anything anyway.

User avatar
Ribbit
Posts: 601
Joined: June 12th, 2010, 9:28 am
Location: Monterey Peninsula, CA
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Ribbit » December 16th, 2013, 10:07 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:Lineage is fine in a historical context note, but we need to give names and descriptions that make sense to what we see today, and understand how these animals interact TODAY.
Who is "we"? Why do we "need" to do this?

The "lineage mumbo jumbo" is about biology. What is this other need about?

John

WW**
Posts: 240
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by WW** » December 17th, 2013, 12:27 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:Lineage is fine in a historical context note, but we need to give names and descriptions that make sense to what we see today, and understand how these animals interact TODAY. Period. The lineage mumbo jumbo can be studied as a side note and help us understand where a future problem may lie genetically, but other than that it has no relevance to what we witness in the wild and how we can put a meaningful name to what we witness. I'm talking about ease of recognition in the field, not recognition with a portable DNA kit. Morphology works just fine (except in the case of the Copes and Gray treefrogs). 8-)
The genetics tells us what is happening in the animals and what the separate lineages are. Since the animals fall into these distinct, separately evolving lineages, these clearly mean something to *them*, and that is what scientists try to understand and reflect in classification. The fact that some of these lineages have very inconsiderately failed to evolve nice, clean, field-guide-friendly diagnostic character states that immediately catch the eye may be inconvenient to us, but it does not alter the biological reality on the ground.

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 17th, 2013, 5:56 am

What-ever...I guess I just like knowing what it is I'm looking at, not where it came from a million years ago. I can't wait to see the field guides of the future:

Under California Kingsnake we will see this
Image

Under Desert Kingsnake we will see this
Image

Under Speckled Kingsnake we will see this
Image

At least, according to the 2009 DNA study (Pyron) range map!

User avatar
Ribbit
Posts: 601
Joined: June 12th, 2010, 9:28 am
Location: Monterey Peninsula, CA
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Ribbit » December 17th, 2013, 6:43 am

Wow, so that DNA study showed the same individual living in three different places! Amazing.

And what does "knowing what it is I'm looking at" even mean? "Knowing that somebody made up a name for the animals that look pretty much like this one"? Why is that important?

John

User avatar
Stohlgren
Posts: 603
Joined: November 6th, 2010, 9:59 am
Location: Athens, GA (Columbia, MO)

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Stohlgren » December 17th, 2013, 7:00 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:What-ever...I guess I just like knowing what it is I'm looking at, not where it came from a million years ago
Just because you call a species one thing based on the field guides you approve of, doesn't mean you know what you are looking at. Like it or not, scientific nomenclature was developed to help us understand how things are related, not to make it easier to identify things. Inconvenient as that may be for someone trying to write a book about the species. That doesn't mean the above paper is flawless and all changes should be immediately excepted, but it improves our knowledge of the group and gives us direction for future studies.

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 822
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » December 17th, 2013, 7:01 am

Ribbit wrote:Who is "we"?
Pluralis maiestatis? ;)

Brian, if you don't subscribe to the basic ground rules of taxonomic research, you will have to admit that the "it is" in your "what it is I'm looking at" doesn't exist anywhere else than in your own mind. To everyone his/her own species, hurrah!

I would actually love to have such an imaginary DNA kit for Christmas. Who wouldn't want to learn and understand more about these animals including how they are related?

If you only rely on morphology to draw species boundaries, you are not only blind for cryptic species (even though these may be completely unable to interbreed). Also the opposite: morphology has led to a lot of splitting which turned out to be irrelevant with regard to species or speciation.

So, defining species as (ultimately subjective) "units that I can see as units" may be very wrong. I imagine that at some point in history some people may have resisted to considering more than one species of Sceloporus or Batrachoseps because they all look the same. Gradually, we have evolved to looking more carefully. Nowadays, we can (should!) feed as much different types of data as possible into reconstructing phylogenies and understanding not only the historical but also the contemporary relations/distance between taxa (all of which are obviously better documented by DNA than by external features). I'm not denying that due to lack of inconclusive data there may be a lot of discussion, but that's a normal aspect of any scientific progress, imho.

Sure, taxonomy that's not readily obvious from morphology is annoying to most people, but nature is not easy. If you refuse to build taxonomy/systematics on evolutionary history, there's certainly no objectivity left. Keep at it and you'll end up in a world where you can call a chair "a house" and I wouldn't mind. May seem silly, but in the end, it's all a massive flow of genes which we try to cut into meaningful practical units, for which I am a big fan of using reproductive isolation to set species boundaries.

On a side note, personally, I have more difficulties with accepting a tendency to call each (mtDNA) lineage a different species, regardless of reproductive isolation. Yes, scientists can be too eager to split, but that's what discussion is for.

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 822
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » December 17th, 2013, 7:08 am

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:"units that I can see as units"
Somehow, the private planet of thought of a certain Australian übersplitter leaps to mind...

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by hellihooks » December 17th, 2013, 8:29 am

If it makes you feel any better Brian, Cognitive/Bio psych is gradually being supplanted by evolutionary psychology, as well... :crazyeyes:
Sounds like your Milksnake book will need some major revisions, if you want anyone other than kids to read it... :? :lol: :lol: jim

User avatar
Gluesenkamp
Posts: 290
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 6:57 am
Location: Texas

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Gluesenkamp » December 17th, 2013, 8:37 am

Here, gentlemen, I believe we have the crux of the biscuit.

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 17th, 2013, 11:29 am

Stohlgren: I agree with what you said, I just see no need to change names or screw up ranges of look-a-like snakes to implement that information. That is great background info on the evolution of snakes or whatever, but these rapid changes are just making a mess that someone else will have to clean up someday.

John: :lol: No, the study didn't show that...I just used the same pic for dramatic effect, but the study did call that snake three different names in three different areas it occurs. :lol:

User avatar
reptilist
Posts: 653
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 8:30 am
Location: Clifton, Arizona

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by reptilist » December 17th, 2013, 12:00 pm

It's all Hoserae, isn't it?

User avatar
Ribbit
Posts: 601
Joined: June 12th, 2010, 9:28 am
Location: Monterey Peninsula, CA
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Ribbit » December 17th, 2013, 12:34 pm

It's all Hoserae until someone gets split.

User avatar
Stohlgren
Posts: 603
Joined: November 6th, 2010, 9:59 am
Location: Athens, GA (Columbia, MO)

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Stohlgren » December 17th, 2013, 4:47 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote:Stohlgren: I agree with what you said, I just see no need to change names or screw up ranges of look-a-like snakes to implement that information. That is great background info on the evolution of snakes or whatever, but these rapid changes are just making a mess that someone else will have to clean up someday.
Arguing that these changes may be premature is completely different than arguing that genetic data should not be used when describing-splitting-lumping-etc. species.

I see nothing wrong with this paper being published showing the results of the work that was done. It makes this data widely available so it can be accessed and addressed by others. Ultimately it is up to ICZN, SSAR, CNAH, whoever else, to decide whether to make changes to the current nomenclature or if changes may be premature.

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 17th, 2013, 7:33 pm

Species were originally described as groups that did not readily breed outside of the group. When they did accidentally breed with another species, the result was called a hybrid, and hybrids were generally sterile. Somewhere along the way this definition has been lost to the DNA crowd, and all jokes and look-a-like photos aside, that is the biggest gripe I have with it.

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Brian Hubbs » December 18th, 2013, 12:02 am

That's quite a conundrum...so maybe it's those type of things the geneticists should be working on defining, instead of making species out of interbreeding milks and kings. :shock: Of course, that all might take a lot of time, and those degrees need to be obtained NOW, and as fast as possible to get a job...right? 8-)

Of course, there IS another possibility with those ensatina. Just look at klauberi and eschscholtzii, they look nothing alike. The poor things just don't recognize the other as something to hook up with...while all the others are gradual variations of each other on a declining scale.* BINGO! (a game played in New Yawk churches) :lol:

*The above was not a serious attempt to explain the problem, lest anyone attack it.

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 822
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » December 18th, 2013, 1:49 am

About the Ensatina case - probably a stupid question because I don't know any details, but what would be against threating klauberi as a species and all others as another?
Brian Hubbs wrote:Somewhere along the way this definition has been lost to the DNA crowd
DNA data was added to the pool of evidence and shouldn't replace anything. It is imho very welcome data, because your inter-fertility criterion is too simple to apply on a dynamic process, which can be unraveled from molecular data (cf. what has been written in the Batrachoseps thread). I don't see why you (or anyone) should consider this to create strongly opposing camps. A taxonomist who claims he/she has no interest in morphology is a (imho quite rare) idiot.
Brian Hubbs wrote:Of course, that all might take a lot of time, and those degrees need to be obtained NOW, and as fast as possible to get a job...right? 8-)
You seem to insist on making a black-and-white stand against the Terrible Opportunistic Evil Scientists. Maybe you only do this to spice up the discussion, but it's incorrect. Hardly any scientist will miss getting a degree or a job if he/she only writes up the phylogeny, biogeography, etc. You are overestimating the importance of the taxonomic conclusions. Just screen the latest years/volumes of a journal like e.g. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, if you don't believe me. Having one's name linked to a species may seem fancy to the outside world, but these degrees and jobs are handed out by people who (should) appreciate the science of the work and not by some "who named the most species" lottery. There's more to being a biologist than envious competition and the cliche heroism of Discovery Channel etc., please!

User avatar
jonathan
Posts: 3616
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:39 am
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by jonathan » December 18th, 2013, 5:29 am

hellihooks wrote:If it makes you feel any better Brian, Cognitive/Bio psych is gradually being supplanted by evolutionary psychology, as well... :crazyeyes:
Not really. The thing about evolutionary biology is that you can track it in the DNA and in the fossil record. The problem with evolutionary psychology is that the answers can only be found in the minds of the psychologists who make up their untestable theories.

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by hellihooks » December 18th, 2013, 7:20 am

jonathan wrote:
hellihooks wrote:If it makes you feel any better Brian, Cognitive/Bio psych is gradually being supplanted by evolutionary psychology, as well... :crazyeyes:
Not really. The thing about evolutionary biology is that you can track it in the DNA and in the fossil record. The problem with evolutionary psychology is that the answers can only be found in the minds of the psychologists who make up their untestable theories.
Perhaps you misunderstand.... what I'm saying is that for the last several decades, cog/bio psych (neurophysiology/neuropharmacology) was considered the most efficacious avenue towards explaining human behavior, but now evolutionary psychology, (which says all behavior is a result of selective adaptation) is all the rage.
To me, they go well together.... bio psych explains what physically happens today, and evo psych explains how we got to where we're currently at... :thumb:
Given sentience, there is a huge difference between evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology, the latter being far more complex. :| jim

User avatar
jonathan
Posts: 3616
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:39 am
Contact:

Re: Milksnake changes published

Post by jonathan » December 18th, 2013, 8:15 am

I don't misunderstand. What I'm saying is that while evolutionary psychology has been "all the rage" among select psychology professors for a few decades now, it's heavily populated with ideas you can't test and claims you can't verify. You can't really apply its "findings" without reeeeaaaalllly stretching. It's just a lot of thought experiments in the minds of academics.

So while it could "go together" with neurophysiology, for example, the difference is that you can actually test neurophysiology.

To me, that makes the relationship far different than the relationship between evolutionary biology and the rest of that field, because with evolutionary biology, you can look at the genes and the fossils and the population distributions and actually figure out to a great extent what really played out. When you come up with such a hypothesis in evolutionary psychology, you don't have anything nearly as firm to test your idea against, and so it's usefulness wanes.

Post Reply