Re: birds

To: Rod Gardner <>,
Subject: Re: birds
From: David James <>
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 17:08:09 +1000
At 15:16 10/08/98 +1000, Rod Gardner wrote:
>Hi Lorne,
>Short answer: it's in between. Seabird specialists such as Tony Palliser
>and Pete Milburn have been following the revised taxonomy of albatrosses,
>which can be found at
>It's still a bit unofficial, I suppose, because it's not official
>Australian list stuff. 

Not quite. Its a bit unofficial because it is an opinion that was adopted
at an albatross conference which was based of a revision which :

(1) was unpublished at the time (makes it difficult to sctrutinse) and
still is as far as I am aware.

(2) contains insufficient new information to justify its changes which
amount to nothing more than elevating all recognised subspecies to species
level and ressurecting a couple of old genus name. Its the same old
spliters verse lumpers rubbish. 

The work has not yet undergone the scrutiny of peer reveiw that is required
for its reccomendations to be accepted by the taxonomic community. The
arguments have not been presented for scrutitny of their merits.  

The term "interim" taxonomy which has been applied to this taxonomic
arrangement is meaningless. Individuals are free to use whatever taxonomy
they want, just like English names, but it is not helpful to use a
different taxonomy to everybody else. The process of adopting an interim
taxonomy is a political one that interferes with the scientific processes
of taxonomy.

By the way, about as much information on the relationships between the
terminal taxa (whether you call them species or subspecies) is contained in
the "old" as the "new" taxonomy. Not much of a break through. Really, its
only a new "nomenclature".

One motivation for all the splitting seems to be to be able to recocognise
more species as threatened given the disasterous situation created by
long-line by-catch. However, since endangered species legislation generally
applies to terminal taxa (ie either species or subspecies) the the argument
is flawed.   

I would reccomend that everyone wishing to adopt the philoshophy read the
papers and asses the arguments for themselves. 
David James
PO BOX 5225
Townsville Mail Centre 4810

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