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Unformatted text preview: ecies have been diag nosed principally or purely on the basis of mtDNA distances, a
p rocedure recently criticized on multiple grounds by Frankham
e t al. (2012). Even leaving aside these authors’ cogent technical objections, whether the mtDNA distances reported for
M icrocebus a nd L epilemur s amples actually correlate with other
v alid criteria for species recognition is in many cases unknown.
This having been said, however, there is no doubt that there are
m any more species of both M icrocebus a nd L epilemur o ut there
t han I was able to recognize in 1982; and indeed, the existence
a nd identities of some of those additional M icrocebus s pecies
h ave already been quite convincingly demonstrated via the
d eployment of multiple criteria (e.g., Zimmermann et al. 1998,
R asoloarison et al. 2000, Yoder et al. 2002).
I have reviewed much of the evidence for taxonomic P AGE 9 p roliferation among the lemurs elsewhere (Tattersall 2007,
2 013). It does not seem particularly helpful to repeat this
e xercise here, except to note that in both contributions I
c oncluded that fully individuated status cannot at present be
c onsidered conclusively substantiated for many more than half
o f the 100-odd lemur species listed in the latest Field Guide
( Mittermeier et al. 2010). Still, I would also emphasize that, in
p ointing to a paucity of decisive evidence for some of the more
e xtravagant estimates of lemur species numbers, I am not in
t he least disputing that there is far more lemur biodiversity in
t he forests of Madagascar than we had thought there was only
f our decades ago. Clearly, there are many species and distinc tive populations of lemurs in those forests, some of them with
h ighly limited distributions. Equally evidently, the remarkable
d iversity of Malagasy primates is systematically, geographically,
g enetically, morphologically and ecologically structured in a
m uch more complex fashion than we had ever dreamed, even
a s recently as at the beginning of this millennium.
However, I do urge the exercise of caution in using the crite rion of diagnosability as the sole arbiter of species status, whether
t he diagnostic evidence at hand is molecular, or morphological,
o r vocal, or whatever. Diagnosability is certainly a major factor
t o be taken into account in any alpha - taxonomic decision; but
u sing this criterion alone, as the PSC in its currently fashionable
f orm advocates, simply takes us back to the phenetic cacophony
o f species from which Ernst Schwarz (1930) rescued us the best
p art of a century ago. In order to determine with any confidence
w hether or not our subject populations ‘behave’ as individuated
e ntities – which should surely be our goal – we require evidence
f rom multiple sources, including morphology (in its broadest
s ense, embracing superficial characters and olfactory signal ing systems as well as internal anatomy), DNA markers, social
b ehaviors, vocal and visual communication, geographical and
e cological distributions, environmental preferences, and interactions with sympatric populations including putative gene flow.
We are obliged, in other words, to proceed in the manner of
m any judicial sys...
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This test prep was uploaded on 03/31/2014 for the course ARH 102 taught by Professor Leslie during the Fall '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.
- Fall '08