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Posted by troy h on December 10, 2002 at 11:47:02:
In Reply to: science? posted by emoneill on December 09, 2002 at 12:53:16:
:First I have to say that I hope you are just mistaken that these "workers" have already decided a priori what their conclusions are. Results lead to conclusions not the other way around. And it sound like they don't have the data yet.
they do have a better selection of data than burbink had. when i said the paper is in the works, i mean the research has already been done and it is awaiting publication. basically, from what i hear, burbink knew that their stuff was in the works, didn't want to collaborate, and published his findings somewhat prematurely in order to get his paper out first.
:Second, what results would suggest that these are a subspecies? I am fine with rejecting these as species, IF THE DATA SUPPORT IT, but that would not make them a subspecies automatically. I recognize that geographic variation exists, but the subspecies concept is outdated and rather difficult to defend.
the simple fact is that "slowinskii" intergrades with emoryi in the blackland prairies. burbink shows a hundred mile gap between populations of "slowinskii" and "emoryi" in northeast texas. no such gap exists.
for example, in college station, you can find "slowinskii"-types, emoryi-types, and intermediates. not surprisingly, Brazos county, TX is about 1/2 blackland prairie (west) and 1/2 post oak savannah (east). follow this line north, and you follow the intergrade zone between these two subspecies or races or color morphs or whatever you want to call them.
the bottom line is that their data show that "slowinskii" is invalid as a full species. if you are the sort that believes that subspecies don't have any validity or usefulness, then just call it Elaphe guttata - which is what the snake is, after all!