American Ornithologists Union - Changes
gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Tue Sep 19 07:18:10 EDT 2000
There are additional snide remarks that the AOU committee deserves.
For example the Old Squaw is not the only Long-tailed Duck. (e.g.
Names that have been well established for 50+ years (two generations of
scientists) are changed because of generic lumping or splitting (very
subjective), losing track of the fact that the reason we like scientific
names is because of their communication virtues.
"Black - Capped Chickadee" is "Poecile atricapilla"
"Boreal Chickadee" is "Poecile hudsonica" .
Both have been in the genus Parus for decades.
Splitting at the species level is presumed to represent some level of
biological differentiation, althought that too must often be subjective
when completely allopatric taxa are involved. In the last six weeks
I've been magpies in both U.S. and Holland. I don't believe that
amorous males and females would be impressed by the subtle differences
on which the splitting is based (so I won't be checking off a second
species just yet).
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