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Offline Roger Parsons  
#41 Posted : 16 September 2019 06:14:19(UTC)
Roger Parsons

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Location: Lincolnshire

Originally Posted by: DEW Go to Quoted Post

Exasperating is I think the word - the author dnces all round the difficulties of defining a species without coming to a conclusion. Even DNA analysis, while helpful in providing connections between organisms (or not - cryptic speciation) is subject to argument. How uch % difference in DNA, or at what sites on the DNA does there have to be a critical difference, still remain matters for argument.

It later occurred to me that lumpers and splitters could have fun with the concept of 'species of dog'. Lots of morphological difference - tick. Different ecological niches (guard dog, guide dog, sniffer dog)- tick. Breed true to parents - tick. And then it all falls down because, as we know, all varieties of dog can interbreed (with a bit of assistance, perhaps, for a chihuahua and a rottweiler)and produce viable offspring. 

I'd pin my definition of species on the last criterion and hope that someone has checked it for the robberflies - or as apractical subsitute, at least looked at the DNA.

Sorry to raise your blood pressure, DEW! My experience of Botany at the NHM confirms that DNA sampling is an intrinsic part of herbarium management these days. I don't know if there is a similar approach to invertebrates - I'll see if I can find out. I can tell you that when I retired I did a short course in Zooarchaeology attended not only by practicing Archaeologists but also by Geneticists. There were a number of surprisingly heated exchanges on the topic of species identification. The dilemma you point out is a genuine one and my antique definition of a species still stands, it is what experts agree is sufficient for the time being.  Thinking about it, that's a fundamental scientific point of view - we know all our knowledge is conditional and subject to change in the light of new information. This is why the more I learn the less I feel I know. I console myself with the fact that a stopped clock is right twice a day!

Roger

RogerP

West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire

No county (Lincolnshire) has better churches and worse houses. The poorer sort of people wash their clothes with hog's dung, and burn dried cow's dung for want of better fuel; whence comes the Lincolnshire proverb: "Where the hogs shite soap and the cows shite fire".

Curiosities of Great Britain (c.1780)

Offline Roger Parsons  
#42 Posted : 16 September 2019 07:18:39(UTC)
Roger Parsons

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Originally Posted by: Northern Sky Go to Quoted Post

I saw a wasp attack and kill a speckled wood butterfly in the garden yesterday. There was a tussle on the ground and then the wasp literally cut the body in half and flew away with it! I'd never seen anything like it before but later that day I saw another (the same?) wasp catch and kill a fly. It held it and seemed to be taking bites out of it. Brutal stuff.

Alien and The Borg owe much to wasp biology, NS.

Roger

RogerP

West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire

No county (Lincolnshire) has better churches and worse houses. The poorer sort of people wash their clothes with hog's dung, and burn dried cow's dung for want of better fuel; whence comes the Lincolnshire proverb: "Where the hogs shite soap and the cows shite fire".

Curiosities of Great Britain (c.1780)

Offline Roger Parsons  
#43 Posted : 17 September 2019 06:35:51(UTC)
Roger Parsons

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An interesting DNA story on a non-insect! Relates to the species discussion.
World's biggest amphibian 'discovered' in museum
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49692583



Whatever next?
Roger

p.s. check out their Ecology and Evolution link or:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/20457758

 

Edited by user 17 September 2019 06:40:26(UTC)  | Reason: + bold + link

RogerP

West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire

No county (Lincolnshire) has better churches and worse houses. The poorer sort of people wash their clothes with hog's dung, and burn dried cow's dung for want of better fuel; whence comes the Lincolnshire proverb: "Where the hogs shite soap and the cows shite fire".

Curiosities of Great Britain (c.1780)

Offline DEW  
#44 Posted : 17 September 2019 06:55:53(UTC)
DEW

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Location: Chichester 12m. asl

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons Go to Quoted Post

An interesting DNA story on a non-insect! Relates to the species discussion.
World's biggest amphibian 'discovered' in museum
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49692583

From the link, "Harvesting for the luxury food trade has led to a collapse in numbers across China". There is a Chinese saying (according to my travel book) "If it has four legs and it's not a table, the Cantonese will eat it". Probably a libel invented by people from Beijing, but the mindset goes some way towards explaining why I'm unhappy about the prospects for wildlife conservation in China or their trade area.

Incidentally, the article doesn't make clear where the new specimen came from, whether (a) captured in the wild and brought in (b) an old specimen already in the museum (c) emerging from some damp corner in the museum's cellars

Edited by user 17 September 2019 06:57:35(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

It was most foule weather ... and so we went into an alehouse - Samuel Pepys
Offline Gandalf The White  
#45 Posted : 17 September 2019 07:41:46(UTC)
Gandalf The White

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Originally Posted by: DEW Go to Quoted Post

 

From the link, "Harvesting for the luxury food trade has led to a collapse in numbers across China". There is a Chinese saying (according to my travel book) "If it has four legs and it's not a table, the Cantonese will eat it". Probably a libel invented by people from Beijing, but the mindset goes some way towards explaining why I'm unhappy about the prospects for wildlife conservation in China or their trade area.

Incidentally, the article doesn't make clear where the new specimen came from, whether (a) captured in the wild and brought in (b) an old specimen already in the museum (c) emerging from some damp corner in the museum's cellars

You remind me that it’s also said of the eating habits of the Chinese that “if it flies and it’s not an aeroplane or is in the water and isn’t a boat they’ll eat it.”

Location: South Cambridgeshire

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Brexit: proof that you can fool people into making a stupid choice

Offline Roger Parsons  
#46 Posted : 17 September 2019 08:07:14(UTC)
Roger Parsons

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Joined: 23/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,068
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Location: Lincolnshire

Originally Posted by: Gandalf The White Go to Quoted Post

You remind me that it’s also said of the eating habits of the Chinese that “if it flies and it’s not an aeroplane or is in the water and isn’t a boat they’ll eat it.”

I often wonder if the term "delicacy" means "disgusting", Gandalf.

The phrase "makes good soup" is seldom true of wild foods.

Roger

RogerP

West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire

No county (Lincolnshire) has better churches and worse houses. The poorer sort of people wash their clothes with hog's dung, and burn dried cow's dung for want of better fuel; whence comes the Lincolnshire proverb: "Where the hogs shite soap and the cows shite fire".

Curiosities of Great Britain (c.1780)

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