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Posted by Kenny Wray on December 09, 2002 at 18:52:15:
In Reply to: science? posted by emoneill on December 09, 2002 at 12:53:16:
and have done work on this species before. I believe you either misuderstood Troy and/or he worded it poorly. As I understand it, the work has already been done and the writing/review process is on its way. Although you are right about conclusions occuring after an experiment, your experiment begins with a hypothesis and this hypothesis often is what a researcher believes to be the case.
As for the subspecies being outdated. You are listening to a select few. True the evolutionary species concept is currently envogue, but it has its own problems too (just as a reproductive species concept or any of the several other species concepts from the past). A subspecies is no more than a geographic race. If you refuse to think that peninsular Florida Ratsnake's are not distinct from all other rat snakes with vey small integrade zones, well you are wrong. As far as a distinct evolutionary lineage, none of the obsoleta are isolated and all exchange gene flow from north to south and east to west.
The problem with today's taxonomists/systematists is that an entire generation is being taught procedures that they do not fully comprehend. You can teach anyone to run gels and sequences (I should know I was a work study student my freshman year in an immunopathology lab going through the entire procedure, except for the interpretation of the data). In addition, many researchers are totally out in the cold, when it comes to the natural history and ecology of these animals they work on. As Langaha put it "Gel Jockies". Their interpretation of their data leaves alot to be desired. The human ego rushes to put out a paper before all the evidence is in, because they want to have their named attached to a description. Rumor has it, that this is what happened with Burbink's "slowinskii".