Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

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Nick
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Nick » May 22nd, 2011, 6:29 am

The common names for Pantherophis obsoletus and Pantherophis spiloides are still incorrect. They should be "Western Ratsnake", and "Midland Ratsnake" (or "Central Ratsnake"), respectively. Why can't NAFHA maintain its own list, and accept changes on a case by case basis?

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FunkyRes
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by FunkyRes » May 22nd, 2011, 6:46 am

Nick wrote:The common names for Pantherophis obsoletus and Pantherophis spiloides are still incorrect. They should be "Western Ratsnake", and "Midland Ratsnake" (or "Central Ratsnake"), respectively. Why can't NAFHA maintain its own list, and accept changes on a case by case basis?
That appears to be what is going to happen in the future.

We voted in the SSAR list as it was in 2006 but we didn't vote continued following of SSAR.
It does appear though that the general feeling is to keep what we have and make changes when we feel they are needed / benefit us.

With respect to common names, some SSAR common names don't follow what has been in field guides for eons.

I think they use "Southern California Toad" for A boreas halophilus because that's what Frost does, but it has been "California Toad" in every field guide I have ever read and I don't quite understand why it has changed. It's likely a cryptic species complex anyway, and the type is from Benecia, CA (norcal) - so keep it as California Toad and after a species split, if socal toads are different, you then can call a potential southern species "Southern California Toad". Currently a species split would mean "Southern California Toad" would follow whatever species had Benecia, CA in its range.

I really don't comprehend that common name change.

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BChambers
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by BChambers » May 22nd, 2011, 7:39 am

FunkyRes wrote: EDIT:
The logical way to look at it - the text clearly specifies it was a supernatural event.
Natural laws do not apply for supernatural events.
Thus asking skeptical questions like where all the water went, how all the animals fit, what all the animals ate, etc. are fundamentally flawed because they rely on natural laws and ignore the super natural description of the event.

If you reject the supernatural then you can reject the Genesis account based solely on its description of being supernatural.
Agreed-though you MIGHT be putting more thought into this than a light-hearted comment merits (my post was a *clumsy* stab at biblical literalists -not an attack on religion, the Bible, etc...) ;)

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Josh Holbrook » May 22nd, 2011, 8:56 am

Standard common names? Can't we just leave them alone!? If I want to call Heterodon platyrhinos a puff adder or Hyla gratiosa the Florida Treefrog I should be able to: non-academic types already roll their eyes enough when I tell them "That snake is not poisonous, it's venomous;" do I really need to start correcting their use of common names?

Leave the scientific names for the science people to decide, and the common names for the common people to decide. :beer:


(On a side note, in my field guide I believe I use the term "The snake formerly known as the Everglades Ratsnake a couple of times. This is what we've come to. :mrgreen: :thumb: )

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Don Becker
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Don Becker » May 22nd, 2011, 12:23 pm

We voted in the SSAR list as it was in 2006 but we didn't vote continued following of SSAR.
Yes we did.

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FunkyRes
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by FunkyRes » May 22nd, 2011, 1:20 pm

psyon wrote:
We voted in the SSAR list as it was in 2006 but we didn't vote continued following of SSAR.
Yes we did.
The we need to straighten that out immediately.
Unfortunately that vote was pre forum data loss.

heavenscloud
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by heavenscloud » May 22nd, 2011, 1:27 pm

Robert Hansen wrote: Bottom line is that the only thing that is "enforced" is English name usage in our publications. Although the use of any particular scientific name might seem influential (and I understand that), it does not carry any special weight and should not be regarded as some sort of pronouncement or judgment. I assure you that there is plenty of disagreement among herpetologists on some of the taxonomic arrangements followed in the names list—such is the nature of systematics.
For publications, it makes more sense to use well-supported scientific names that represent a careful review of all available data for a given organism instead of just a few DNA sequences and biogeographical speculation.

North American herpetology needs an organization that will promote thoughtful taxonomic revision based on the sum of what we know about an organism instead of passively endorsing fashionable taxonomy through the use of “standardized” common names that mean nothing to the data-oriented person.

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Bryan Hamilton » May 22nd, 2011, 2:46 pm

heavenscloud wrote:North American herpetology needs an organization that will promote thoughtful taxonomic revision based on the sum of what we know about an organism instead of passively endorsing fashionable taxonomy through the use of “standardized” common names that mean nothing to the data-oriented person.
Great. Now we can have a third organization "standardizing" names.

Is it really so hard to accept that there in no "true" taxonomy? It used to be for me I guess but now I'm a lot less attached to names.

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Lizardman1988
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Lizardman1988 » May 22nd, 2011, 3:24 pm

Bryan Hamilton wrote:Is it really so hard to accept that there in no "true" taxonomy? It used to be for me I guess but now I'm a lot less attached to names.
I guess it is pretty hard for hobbyists and those not well acquainted with science. Becoming detached from the names is exactly what is needed. Names will change as we figure out how things are related, it's a fact of taxonomy. I say the new list should be adopted, since it reflects our most recent understanding of species relationships, and has the most recent research backing it up. It will change again, probably within weeks. Deal with it. Using old names will just promote confusion, it's about as bad as using common names.

heavenscloud
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by heavenscloud » May 22nd, 2011, 3:50 pm

Lizardman1988 wrote:I guess it is pretty hard for hobbyists and those not well acquainted with science. Becoming detached from the names is exactly what is needed. Names will change as we figure out how things are related, it's a fact of taxonomy. I say the new list should be adopted, since it reflects our most recent understanding of species relationships, and has the most recent research backing it up. It will change again, probably within weeks. Deal with it. Using old names will just promote confusion, it's about as bad as using common names.
Yep, we're all just lowly hobbyists who don't understand how science works. Thanks for the enlightenment. :thumb:

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FunkyRes
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by FunkyRes » May 22nd, 2011, 4:32 pm

Lizardman1988 wrote:
Bryan Hamilton wrote:Is it really so hard to accept that there in no "true" taxonomy? It used to be for me I guess but now I'm a lot less attached to names.
I guess it is pretty hard for hobbyists and those not well acquainted with science. Becoming detached from the names is exactly what is needed. Names will change as we figure out how things are related, it's a fact of taxonomy. I say the new list should be adopted, since it reflects our most recent understanding of species relationships, and has the most recent research backing it up. It will change again, probably within weeks. Deal with it. Using old names will just promote confusion, it's about as bad as using common names.
The paper for the getula change relies too heavily on mtDNA when recent research shows that quite often, mtDNA and nuDNA trees differ from each other.

Thus, I would argue that the list does not reflect our most recent understanding of species relationships but rather demonstrates that some changes are proposed and accepted before proper research has been finished even though we know better. Publish or perish syndrome?

Anyway, as such, it may be better to take a conservative approach to controversial changes. Especially changes that will result in confusion with respect to identification of species in the field.

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Don Becker
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Don Becker » May 23rd, 2011, 5:00 am

Deal with it. Using old names will just promote confusion, it's about as bad as using common names.
The goal of NAFHA is to join amateurs with professionals. To stick with that goal, we have to cater to the needs of the amateurs who are most likely looking at old field guides and websites with out dated information.

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Tom Lott
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Tom Lott » May 23rd, 2011, 3:45 pm

Jeff wrote: We debate which published decisions to follow, and strictly avoid making taxonomic decisions ourselves.
Umm . . . How, then, did we end up with "Heterodon gloydi," which would appear to be a classic example of "Range Map Taxonomy" (a la Collins, 1991) combined with a generous dose of Evolutionary Species Concept.

PDF = http://www.ssarherps.org/pdf/Crotherupdate.pdf

Significantly, the update incorrectly implied that Werler and Dixon (Texas Snakes, 2000) made that change, but those authors specifically disavowed such taxonomic practices (Pp. 17-20), retaining "gloydi" as a subspecies of Heterodon nascius (even though at least two previous workers recommended that it be "sunk" into H. nasicus).

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Jeff
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Re: Standard English and Scientific Names — Now Online

Post by Jeff » May 23rd, 2011, 4:35 pm

TomLott

Good call. The decision to avoid making our own taxonomic conclusions came within the past year or so after the comment period for the online edition was initiated. Several committee members presented a flurry of taxonomic changes, primarily in the form of subspecies elevation or rejection, based on tangential evidence, phylogenetic theory, and unpublished or preliminary data. Though the recommended changes may have been well-founded, the committee decided to rely on published material, and follow recommendations therein.

Jeff

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