NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

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HERP.MX
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NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by HERP.MX » June 20th, 2016, 7:28 am

A new 'must have' for your library:
Herpetofauna Mexicana Vol. 1 SNAKES OF MEXICO
by Peter Heimes

Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tCe4TL

Image

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by The Real Snake Man » June 20th, 2016, 3:10 pm

They go back and forth between having none and having almost none. Get your copy while you can. I have a feeling this will be one of the harder books to obtain in the years ahead, and one of the most important publications of the decade.

-Gene

PS: This post probably should've gone on the literature forum (the Reading Room). Just a note for future posts like this.

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Muchobirdnerd
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Muchobirdnerd » June 21st, 2016, 5:59 am

Link no bueno. Is it sold out already? I'll purchase one ASAP if not.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jimi » June 21st, 2016, 7:55 am

I jumped on it yesterday; Amazon said they had one available and I got it. Hopefully they'll get some more in soon.

I'm kinda curious what kind of print run Chimaira did. You might be able to just get it straight from them (the publisher, in Hamburg). They have lots of natural history books that might also interest you:
http://www.chimaira.de/

Just click the Union Jack for an English translation of their site. See the left-side column of categories for herps, birds, inverts etc.

FWIW, I have several of their books (both hard and soft), they hold up pretty well. Seems to be a decent build quality.

Good hunting,
Jimi

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Muchobirdnerd
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Muchobirdnerd » June 21st, 2016, 8:09 am

Was it over $100? the site has it for sale for 98 Euro.
Jimi wrote:I jumped on it yesterday; Amazon said they had one available and I got it. Hopefully they'll get some more in soon.

I'm kinda curious what kind of print run Chimaira did. You might be able to just get it straight from them (the publisher, in Hamburg). They have lots of natural history books that might also interest you:
http://www.chimaira.de/

Just click the Union Jack for an English translation of their site. See the left-side column of categories for herps, birds, inverts etc.

FWIW, I have several of their books (both hard and soft), they hold up pretty well. Seems to be a decent build quality.

Good hunting,
Jimi

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Martti Niskanen
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Martti Niskanen » June 21st, 2016, 9:40 am

To wait or not to wait? 98€ on the website, and a tennerandabit for shipping costs. Investing on books is a tricky game.
A bit of a bastard buying a book for 100+€, and there being a further print for 50€.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jimi » June 21st, 2016, 11:54 am

Was it over $100?
Yeah it was. $132 all told, from Amazon. Books have gone up, ha ha...but then again, who hasn't lamented the absence of a decent "herps of Mexico" book?
98€ on the website, and a tennerandabit for shipping costs.
I see that 108 Euros is about $122 today (damn, I gotta book a European vacation! that's a relatively great exchange rate; I wonder what this Brexit vote will do????). Anyway, it's a much shorter boat trip from Germany to Finland, than FRG to USA, so maybe that accounts for the cost difference?
Investing on books is a tricky game. A bit of a bastard buying a book for 100+€, and there being a further print for 50€.
I can't really use that word ("investing") in association with books. Or camping gear, cars, snake cages, GPS units, plane tickets etc - they're all more like "toys" or "consumables". They just cost money, and you're not getting the money back (certainly not with interest). Use them up and have a great time, I say. The nice thing about books is, if the build quality is any good, they age pretty well. My copy of "Snakes of Sumatra" must be pushing 20 years old now, and it's holding up great.

As far as being an early adopter and paying more than someone else - somebody has to do it. If the first print run doesn't sell, there probably won't be another cheaper one. Every once in a while, a guy can do his civic duty and bite the bullet. Doesn't hurt much, and it helps incentivize the creation of books - not the worst cause to donate to now and then.

How's the spring been in Fennoscandia, Martti? Get much herping in?

cheers,
Jimi

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Martti Niskanen » June 21st, 2016, 12:58 pm

^ You're right, Jimi. My words were poorly chosen. Will try and obtain a copy of the book.
I own books that are valuable, and consider them investments (books first). Nothing too significant.

As for your question: Not herped in Finland for ages, but a trip to Lithuania is on the cards for July/August.
Have some points for "Fennoscandia". Even Finns can't get that right.

Visiting is a PM away.

With best regards.

-M

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Mark Brown
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Mark Brown » June 22nd, 2016, 9:43 am

Thanks for the book tip! My copy just shipped!

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by intermedius » June 24th, 2016, 5:24 pm

I need this badly.

- Justin

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Mark Brown » June 25th, 2016, 6:02 pm

Received my copy today and I have to say, in my opinion, it's well worth the money. Very, very nicely done and a great addition to the herp book collection.

One question - upon casually flipping through the volume, I noticed that it appears as though milksnakes have lost their status as a species (it lists L. t. annulata as Lampropeltis annulata). I don't follow taxonomic changes too closely - when was this revision made?

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Mark Brown » June 26th, 2016, 1:19 am

One small oddity I noticed about the book - the title on the binding is printed upside-down. So when it is on the bookshelf you have to tilt your head to the left to read it as opposed to the right, which is normal. Interesting.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by chris_mcmartin » June 26th, 2016, 11:00 am

Mark Brown wrote:One small oddity I noticed about the book - the title on the binding is printed upside-down. So when it is on the bookshelf you have to tilt your head to the left to read it as opposed to the right, which is normal. Interesting.
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/arc ... 19320.html

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Paul Freed » June 28th, 2016, 8:19 am

For those still interested in a copy of the Snakes of Mexico book, you can contact Bob & Sheri Ashley at ECO directly ([email protected]) and order one. They just got in a new shipment of the books and they are going for $129 each (plus $3-4 shipping). They also just got in a few copies of the book: Reptile Life in the Land of Israel: hardcover, large format (21 × 29,7 cm), 494 pages, 696 colour photographs, 89 distribution maps, for $159, and will have copies of Amphibians and Reptiles of Sonora Mexico in mid July.
-Paul

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Scotttriv » July 3rd, 2016, 7:09 pm

This book certainly looks interesting.

I was hoping that the group of American guys living in Mexico (that hang out on this forum) were going to put a book like this together with all of their cool photography.

I am a little bit suspicious of a European individual putting a book like this together, but I will probably buy a copy anyways, since I am wildly interested in the topic.

I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 6th, 2016, 11:53 am

Scotttriv wrote:I am a little bit suspicious of a European individual putting a book like this together
You'd be amazed at what European individuals can do.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Scotttriv » July 7th, 2016, 6:48 am

I am sure that it wasn't the author of this new book, but what kind of idiot would sink the species triangulum and make

all of the sub species of milk snakes whole species?

I may avoid buying the book just because I could not stomach seeing Lampropeltis triangulum polyzona listed as Lampropeltis polyzona :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes:

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by The Real Snake Man » July 7th, 2016, 12:11 pm

Scotttriv wrote:I am sure that it wasn't the author of this new book, but what kind of idiot would sink the species triangulum and make

all of the sub species of milk snakes whole species?

I may avoid buying the book just because I could not stomach seeing Lampropeltis triangulum polyzona listed as Lampropeltis polyzona :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes:
Your last two posts have convinced me that you need a little educating. The milk snake split didn't elevate every subspecies, it sank lots of them and made several new species, and that was very necessary if you ask me. The desire to hold onto the old subspecies is very sentimental but it isn't very scientific, and it's time to catch up with the past two decades of snake taxonomy.

Also, if you buy the book you'd find that Peter Heimes, the European author of this tome about Mexican snakes, took a VERY sizeable percentage of the beautiful photos in this book, indicating the sheer amount of field work he's done in the country. I don't think your reasons for not wanting the book are valid. Luckily, they won't matter, because this book is in such low supply and high demand that I doubt you'll be able find one for sale any time soon.

-Gene

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Scotttriv » July 7th, 2016, 2:16 pm

My copy is on the way and I would bet you a beer that I have forgotten more about snakes and snake hunting then you will ever learn.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Bryan Hamilton » July 7th, 2016, 6:18 pm

Scotttriv wrote:I would bet you a beer that I have forgotten more about snakes and snake hunting then you will ever learn
That's why we write books, so we can remember what we forget.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 7th, 2016, 6:37 pm

Indeed

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeff » July 7th, 2016, 7:45 pm

I bought a copy this morning from Bob Ashley at the JMIH meetings in New Orleans. Unlike other Ed Chimaira volumes, this one is a folio at 8.5 X 12 inches, so at 572 pages it has many pounds of data. The information and illustrations are more thorough than other Chimaira publications, with a lot of photos of never- or rarely photographed taxa, as well as unique natural history data. It is worth the US 129 or any similar monetary conversion. In other words, it is not a Chimaira pot-boiler. It appears to be a very thorough and informative assessment of Mexico's snake fauna.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 8th, 2016, 1:20 am

Scotttriv wrote:My copy is on the way and I would bet you a beer that I have forgotten more about snakes and snake hunting then you will ever learn.
Regardless of the alpha male BS in that statement, how does that work, betting on a quantity you forgot? First you insult the population of an entire continent, and then you trash-talk the content of a study you haven't read? Nice ánd smart.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 8th, 2016, 6:29 am

Jeroen,

I have been reading (English language) reptile books for the last 40 years and I have been largely unimpressed with the English language herp books written by Europeans. They typically end up looking like a TFH book available at your local pet store, designed for beginner snake keepers. Maybe the Italian or German or Spanish language herp books are of much higher quality??

Even the Australians appear to do a much better job of writing English language herp books than any of the European authors that I have seen.

My opinions aside, I still forked over $140.00 to purchase the new book because I hope to be pleasantly surprised by the quality and content of the book.

And yes, I am only guessing at the quantity of herp knowledge that I have forgotten over the last 40 years. :?

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by The Real Snake Man » July 12th, 2016, 5:26 pm

Scott:

I'll be 20 this month, but I've spent the last 15 years reading about snakes and other herps (I learned how to read from my snake books). I don't give a damn if you've read about snakes for 40 years, if you don't accept the reality of genetics in defining evolutionary relationships, then you haven't learned a single goddamn thing and you're no better than all the old nuts who've forgotten that science moves forward.

As for your claim about the low quality of works by European authors, I think that's categorically stupid, and I don't even know why you made that comment about Australians (who speak English, by the way).

I can't drink beer yet (and don't really plan on it), but I'll take your bet and say that I'm fairly certain I know more about snakes than you've forgotten in the past 40 years. I've talked about snakes with a lot of enthusiasts over the years and still haven't managed to meet anyone in person who's not a herpetologist that knows more than I do.

I see you've managed to get your hands on Heimes's book. You'll like it, it's one of the most well-done books in my extensive herp library, on par with the quality of the Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada (Albert Hazen Wright and Anna Allen Wright, 1957), which is fitting considering they are both the first grand volumes on the snakes of their respective regions - and the pictures sure are better. My big words and yours aside, I do hope you enjoy it.

-Gene

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 12th, 2016, 6:01 pm

Gene,

As you get older and read more about reptiles, you will learn the unfortunate fact that taxonomy and genetics are not related nearly as much as they should be.

"Scientists" come along every day and decide to rename animals for reasons that are often self serving and have very little to do with sound science.

IMO, whoever decided that Lampropeltis triangulum polyzona should be renamed Lampropeltis polyzona is an idiot, regardless of whatever DNA or other data he presented to justify his reclassification.

Unfortunately, arguing taxonomy on the internet is a fools game, sort of like arguing religion, so if you want to believe that these recent name changes are justified, go right ahead.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeff » July 12th, 2016, 6:44 pm

As you get older and read more about reptiles, you will learn the unfortunate fact that taxonomy and genetics are not related nearly as much as they should be.

"Scientists" come along every day and decide to rename animals for reasons that are often self serving and have very little to do with sound science.

IMO, whoever decided that Lampropeltis triangulum polyzona should be renamed Lampropeltis polyzona is an idiot, regardless of whatever DNA or other data he presented to justify his reclassification.
And just how old are you? In the parable of the adulteress (John 8:9), it was noted that the oldest were the first to realize their temerity.

In your second sentence you simply make an unsubstantiated statement. Please provide examples. For example, do scientists truly "come along every day and make decisions"? Are you a scientist?

The "he" in your third sentence is a very insightful young lady, Sarah Ruane, who just received a tenure-track position at Rutgers University, the position previously held by the scholarly snake systematist Samuel B. McDowell. She did not receive that position by being an "idiot." Would you have realized that Sarah was a "she", not a "he", if you had done a little bit of "sound science" averred in your first sentence?

Jeff

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 13th, 2016, 3:32 am

Thanks, Jeff. People shouting murder about papers they didn't read... Nearly as idiotic as claiming to hold The Truth because of having reached a certain age.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 13th, 2016, 4:00 am

OK, I had this coming as I broke my own rule about arguing religion and taxonomy on the internet.

If you guys think that Sara was correct to sink a 150 year old species like triangulum and turn a bunch of "races" - subspecies into whole species, be my guest.

Sarah is a genius. Why didn't anyone else think to do this years ago? :crazyeyes: :crazyeyes:

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 13th, 2016, 4:07 am

Jeez!

If I had known that Sara was a Hottie, I would never have attacked her ridiculous taxonomy

https://sararuane.wordpress.com/about-sara-contact/

On a scale of 1 - 10 in the Herp world, Sarah has to be a 12.

Maybe she can rename and lump and split the Lichanura group next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


GO SARA!!!! :beer: :beer: :beer:

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by The Real Snake Man » July 16th, 2016, 12:48 am

Scott, you're a goddamn idiot. I know sarcasm when I hear it, but try to have a little class when you do it.

-Gene

PS: Did you ever think of all the civil conversations we could have with all the people that we shared interests with if only we could do this in person? I have yet to know an ethical herper that I haven't liked in person. Oh well.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 16th, 2016, 6:33 am

Gene,

It is unfortunate that you were born with underdeveloped "genes" in the sense of humor portion of your brain.

Sara can invite me to her "Snake Pit" and lump and split with me any time her heart desires.

I have all sorts of kinky names we could throw at the Lichanura group, but you have to have a sense of humor to participate.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Kelly Mc » July 16th, 2016, 8:13 am

Ive read Gene's posts for quite some time, and Ive read yours Scottriv

It seems clear that Gene is a more intelligent individual than you, naturally.

You dont even realize that your comment about Sara makes you come off like a lame perv. As she is young enough to be your daughter.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Antonsrkn » July 17th, 2016, 7:16 am

scottriv wrote:Gene,

It is unfortunate that you were born with underdeveloped "genes" in the sense of humor portion of your brain.

Sara can invite me to her "Snake Pit" and lump and split with me any time her heart desires.

I have all sorts of kinky names we could throw at the Lichanura group, but you have to have a sense of humor to participate.
Women in the sciences have it hard, in large precisely because of the attitudes of a bunch of male chauvinists like yourself, its an uphill battle dealing with sexism in the sciences. Fellas like yourself often make rude denigrating comments and then if its brought up as inappropriate just hide behind their bastion of saying its only a joke, what can't you take a joke... You were talking about her work, you may not agree with it (although you have failed to provide any valid reasons why besides that you dont like it) what her appearance has to do with it, I'm not sure. Keep your chauvinist comments off of here, no ones laughing at your 'jokes'.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 17th, 2016, 8:40 am

Anton,

In fact, the situation is the exact opposite of what you describe.

I strongly submit that Sara's professor let her get away with all sorts of taxonomic crap that he would have NEVER let his male students get away with.

She wantonly lumped and split a bunch of names that have been around for 150 years and have served science quite well for the entire century and a half.

In the real world, you don't do that without extreme justification and I don't believe that Sara had the scientific justification to do it.

But, as I have said numerous times,,,,arguing taxonomy is like arguing religion. Taxonomy is certainly NOT a hard science and it barely qualifies as a soft science,,,,it is simply a means of labeling species.

What Sara did is in my opinion, an atrocity and I will bet anyone here a beer that her professor has never allowed ANY of his male herp students to wantonly destroy 150 years of taxonomic tradition by lumping and splitting time honored genera the way that she did.

I don't know her professor, but I suppose it is possible that he is not very bright and didn't see anything wrong with her complete revision of triangulum, but my guess is that he was smart enough to know better and allowed it to happen because she is cute and female.

Yea, yea, I am already fully aware of the fact that I am a politically incorrect sexist and it doesn't bother me one iota.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 17th, 2016, 9:46 am

Congrats, you've added not even knowing what taxonomy is to the fact that you didn't read a paper before you bashed it.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Kelly Mc » July 17th, 2016, 9:48 am

You werent being "politically incorrect"

You were being reductive and trivializing to a persons accomplishments, and your lotion-by-the monitor humor is quite ordinarily stupid..

You've also peeped us to the fact that you're a lonely old creeper.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Kelly Mc » July 17th, 2016, 9:54 am

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Congrats, you've added not even knowing what taxonomy is to the fact that you didn't read a paper before you bashed it.
:thumb:

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 17th, 2016, 10:35 am

Rather than wasting your time insulting me, why don't you guys defend what Sara did.

Explain in scientific terms why changing names that have been published thousands of

times in thousands of publications for over a century was a good idea.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Antonsrkn » July 17th, 2016, 11:09 am

scottriv wrote:Rather than wasting your time insulting me, why don't you guys defend what Sara did.

Explain in scientific terms why changing names that have been published thousands of

times in thousands of publications for over a century was a good idea.
Over time our understanding of certain concepts has changed, we know that older approaches are not as good as we once thought they were. New info gleaned by using new techniques (oftentimes using technology that wasn't available until recently) and a greater understanding call for certain revisions. Do you understand how Science works? Keeping something the same just because thats the way its been for a long time is a terrible approach and not how things work in the scientific community nor should they.

Frankly, I dont even care that you don't acknowledge the taxonomy (even though i disagree with you on that as well), I don't like your sexist attitude.

Your entire idea of how Sara accomplished her achievements is insulting to both her and her adviser/mentor. You have trivialized her work without having read it or understood it yourself and have dismissed her career and successes as a product of a pretty face rather than intellect and hard work. I find your attitude about it repulsive. Have you heard of a thing called peer review? Experts in her field reviewed her work and determined it as of sound quality, peer review is meant to weed out unwarranted claims and erroneous interpretations among other things. Keep in mind, it was reviewed by EXPERTS who have a solid understanding of these things, whereas you can't provide a single reason for your objections besides the fact that in the good ole days it was different.
What Sara did is in my opinion, an atrocity and I will bet anyone here a beer that her professor has never allowed ANY of his male herp students to wantonly destroy 150 years of taxonomic tradition by lumping and splitting time honored genera the way that she did.
There is no such thing as time honored in science, if new information becomes available then out with old and in with the new. This is science we are talking about not an antiques museum.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 17th, 2016, 11:27 am

Anton,

That was a whole lot of blather.

Simply defend what she did from a scientific perspective or stay out of the argument.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Kelly Mc » July 17th, 2016, 11:36 am

Its the contempt mixed in with the expressions of seedy innuendo (you dont respect her, she deserves to be discredited, but you would like to..etc) thats eerie and unfortunately common - it's not edgy Scottriv, not "politically incorrectly sexist" just sickly misogynist.

It reveals a stunted and warped mindset.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 17th, 2016, 11:54 am

Seriously Kelly,

Every time you post, you offer nothing but name calling and insults.

I am desperately looking for someone, anyone, to defend or explain what Sara did from a scientific perspective and absolutely none of you have been able to even attempt to defend what she did.

You may find out the hard way that the owner and moderator of this board does not appreciate name calling and personal attacks.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Kelly Mc » July 17th, 2016, 12:23 pm

I dish it out like I can take it scotttriv - my posts here as dimensional as many other persons.

Meanwhile Anton's post has more than adequately addressed your weakly founded query one that you ironically answer yourself by your own naivety.

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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Scott Waters » July 17th, 2016, 12:23 pm

Part of what makes FHF so great is people having the ability to deal with jabs and shots and then move on to the next round. Quite frankly, the softness of many (not any of you, just a general comment while I chime in on this one) in this new world is a bit concerning to me. We need to get thicker skin, beat each other up from time to time and not take it personally. Now, if something is indeed personal.....that stinks and should not be rewarded. So I am going to ask, is this stuff personal or just typewriter jabbing? My hope is that tensions can flare, shots can be fired (word shots, not gunshot, cannon shots, or any other actual projectile), and we can take them at face value. Ya know, just barking to and from each other. And if it isn't personal, just jabs, take the jabs and then press on with something that moves the discussion forward.

Please go after each other, put things through the ringer (especially science, as it is supposed to be viciously debated isn't it?), as we need more discussion in this world......but if it is personal then it has to stop. Go to Facebook and play with the narcissists. FHF is for the strong. l'll take some jabs and barbs here on FHF any day of the week over the pathetic, pillow-lined playgrounds like FB.

You all rock, even when things get derailed a bit. Lets put this one back on the railings. :)

Scott

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Antonsrkn
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Antonsrkn » July 17th, 2016, 12:48 pm

scottriv wrote:
I am desperately looking for someone, anyone, to defend or explain what Sara did from a scientific perspective and absolutely none of you have been able to even attempt to defend what she did.

You may find out the hard way that the owner and moderator of this board does not appreciate name calling and personal attacks.
You haven't offered a SINGLE bit of scientific critique and just make denigrating comments about the people involved, all you have been saying is that you don't like the results yet are unable to explain why besides historical precedent. I told you in science historical precedent counts for very little so there goes your argument.

Its a long complicated paper which you have not bothered to read and now want someone to spoon feed you the details from so you can rant against them, no one has time for that. I could devote an hour or so to typing up a response attempting to explain some of the science (I don't claim to understand it all) in the paper to you and try to explain it to you. However you're not one of my students, I have no responsibility of trying to teach you, and I can think of a 1000 things I'd rather do.

What I will do is offer you a link to a paper; read it, think about it, determine what specifically you disagree with rather than just the general idea, and then present your thoughts in clear coherent way and if you're lucky someone will take the time to explain it to you.
https://sararuane.files.wordpress.com/2 ... _small.pdf

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 17th, 2016, 12:52 pm

scottriv wrote:absolutely none of you have been able to even attempt to defend what she did.
Again, because that's not the point of the dislikes you're getting. I for one am not wasting my time trying to enlighten someone who is too lazy to read the concerned paper. Hell, I may even disagree with their findings. Get it?

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Jeff
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by Jeff » July 17th, 2016, 3:12 pm

First, thanks Scott for providing, and having, a provocative view of argumentation in FHF.

The purpose of this message is to provide some background as requested by scottriv.

To answer an earlier question, Dr. Ruane's principal advisor was Frank Burbrink, who is a Curator of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History, and former professor at CUNY Staten Island. At AMNH he filled the position recently vacated by the retirement of Darrel Frost. I am very good friends with Frank - we received our doctoral degrees within a year of each other from Louisiana State University. I last talked to Sarah and him at the JMIH meeting in New Orleans a little over a week ago, the same day that I purchased the "Snakes of Mexico" book that is the subject of this post. Frank has mentored a number of prestigious herpetologists such as Don Shepard and Alex Pyron, and his students typically evaluate interpopulational relationships through phylogenetic tree-building techniques. I can assure you that he did not treat Sarah any differently than his male, or other females students. To add to something that Anton wrote regarding peer review: peer review usually requires modification to a manuscript, not simple approval. Dr. Ruane's milk snake manuscript went through a modification process that was aided by input from other specialists in her field.

You have not yet stated anything specific about what you find disagreeable in her methodology, so I will provide some basics with the hope of not sounding pedantic.

Dr. Ruane's study is one of phylogenetic relationships between milk snake populations using genetic sequence data. She used genes, both mitochondrial and nuclear, that are commonly used to assess divergence between populations of organisms. There are many genes that could be sequenced for perceived differences, but there is a very wide range of what each gene can codify, and what it can elucidate regarding relationships at various classificatory levels. For example, the genome that codifies oxidative metabolism is pretty much the same between organisms that metabolize oxygen for energy. Variance, or amino acid substitution, within that gene would result in death at early embryonic stages. At the other end of the spectrum are genes that vary between individuals or family groups, such as those that are used in DNA fingerprinting in paternity suits and criminology. Again, those that Dr. Ruane used are standard for evaluating relationships between populations that are related at the species, or interspecies level.

Once the genetic data are assembled, they are submitted to a tree-building algorithm that evaluates the premium topology at thousands of options/alternatives per second. Once completed, which may take hours, a number of alternative phylogenies are offered. These phylogenies are then back-tested, using other algorithms, to produce a most statistically plausible relationship between populations. In the case of the milk snake study, there was a consensus of eight or so clades, which are monophyletic groups - that is, all of the samples or populations in that group are more closely related to each other than to members of other clades.

The taxonomic boundaries suggested by genetic studies do not always match the morphological enclosures that we call subspecies. For example, Gray Rat Snakes from Tallahassee are, genetically, more closely related to Yellow Rat Snakes from Gainesville than to Gray Rat Snakes in Pensacola. Teasing apart the genetic-morphologic interplay is another aspect of studies like Dr. Ruane's, as well as determining the historical factors that led to abrupt genetic shifts that are discovered along taxonomic interfaces. Milk Snakes from higher elevations may have more black in their pattern than those from valleys, regardless of subspecies. Supposed variability in one subspecies in a particular geographic area may be the result of secondarey contact between clades that were separated during interpluvial periods.

Dr. Ruane's study is one of best available material at present. Any study of milk snakes will be just that, because there is no logistical means of sampling genetic data from every milk snake population that currently exists. Thus, hers is a point-of-departure analysis using the available evidence. Her taxonomic changes, which follow current standards, may change as future researchers study contact zones and obtain additional samples.

Will you be one of those future researchers, scottriv?

I hope so,

Jeff

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scottriv
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 17th, 2016, 3:53 pm

Anton,

Thanks for the link.

Very interesting.

The whole thing is based on DNA

Forget morphology.

Who needs range maps.

Who cares which groups can still or did recently breed together.

Let's just create an abstract set of "rules", analyze the DNA and apply our "rules" however we see fit.

As field herpers is ANYONE the least bit concerned that it is now friggin impossible to accurately ID a snake in the field? (you need to run the DNA to get an ID)

This whole thing beyond preposterous and would be laughable if it were not so sad.

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scottriv
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Re: NEW BOOK: Snakes of Mexico

Post by scottriv » July 17th, 2016, 4:08 pm

Jeff,

I did not see your post when I submitted my post up above.

You seem like a reasonable guy,,,,,,Does it bother you in the least that No scientist on earth can now accurately identify an animal in the field if we rename everything based on DNA analysis?

Doesn't this completely defeat the entire reason why taxonomy was created?

Jeff,

you wrote the following,

"Once the genetic data are assembled, they are submitted to a tree-building algorithm that evaluates the premium topology at thousands of options/alternatives per second. Once completed, which may take hours, a number of alternative phylogenies are offered. These phylogenies are then back-tested, using other algorithms, to produce a most statistically plausible relationship between populations. In the case of the milk snake study, there was a consensus of eight or so clades, which are monophyletic groups - that is, all of the samples or populations in that group are more closely related to each other than to members of other clades. "


My response to this is that "algorithms" are not god, or to put it a different way, your algorithms were written by humans. You can make an algorithm do whatever you want it to do and they are by no means infallible.

Maybe all of these human derived "codes" or algorithms are simply wrong or maybe only some of them are wrong. We don't know,,,,do we?

We have no way of determining whether they are correctly or incorrectly analyzing the data we feed them.

You are putting an awful lot of faith and trust into an algorithm.

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