the difference is that the grass-wren study has been published in the
peer-reviewed scientific literature [in Australian Journal of Zoology, senior
author Les Christidis, if I remember correctly - referrence not to hand]. The
scientific case for the split can therefore be assessed by the ornithological
world and a case made for accepting or rejecting the proposed split. This is not
the case with most of the other taxonomic changes suggested by Schodde and Mason
in their book. Strictly speaking, until they publish full details of their
methods, data and statistical analyses, the opinions in Scodde and Mason should
remain just that, opinions. They are no doubt very well founded opinions, based
on many years work, but the validity of those opinions cannot be thoroughly
assessed from the information they have presented so far.
Whatever happened to the RAOU Taxonomic Advisory Committee?
In his emil to birding-aus on 9 October, 2000, Andrew Stafford suggested
that the Schodde and Mason splits and lumps will not become "official"
unless they are adopted by the new edition of Christidis and Boles
(which I understand is due out some time in 2001).
On the other hand, the advance publicity for Volume 5 of HANZAB
indicates that the editors have accepted at least some of the splits, eg
by treating the Short-tailed and Kalkadoon Grasswrens as separate
Does anyone know how the editors arrived at their decision?
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