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Taxonomy is a matter of evidence...


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Posted by WW on October 15, 2002 at 14:22:54:

In Reply to: posted by troy h on October 15, 2002 at 09:20:26:

Basically, in order to evaluate a new taxonomic proposal, it is a good idea to compare the evidence on which both the new proposal and the status quo are based. In a surprising number of cases, the status quo is primarily the result of inertia, not positive evidence. In such cases, the new proposal is likely to become accepted rapidly.

Sure, the new proposal is a hypothesis, and as for all hypotheses, it is always possible that someone will sooner or later find new and stronger evidence to contradict that hypothesis. However, how long do we wait for someone else to look again? Although herp systematics may seem a crowded field at times, the fact is that todays revision of a taxon may be the last for another 20 or 30 years. We can only go by what we know now.

Obviously, there are also cases where new "standardised lists" introduce novelties by themselves, without new evidence, in which case adherence to them should be considered optional at best.

Cheers,

Wolfgang



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