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Species inflation and taxonomic artefacts - A critical comment on recent trends in mammalian classification


Zachos, Frank E; Apollonio, Marco; Bärmann, Eva V; Festa-Bianchet, Marco; Göhlich, Ursula; Habel, Jan Christian; Haring, Elisabeth; Kruckenhauser, Luise; Lovari, Sandro; McDevitt, Allan D; Pertoldi, Cino; Rössner, Gertrud E; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R; Scandura, Massimo; Suchentrunk, Franz (2013). Species inflation and taxonomic artefacts - A critical comment on recent trends in mammalian classification. Mammalian Biology (Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde), 78(1):1-6.

Abstract

Recently, many new (extant) mammal species have been named, mostly by raising subspecies to species rank. This is primarily a consequence of the phylogenetic species concept (PSC) that has become very popular over the last few decades. We highlight several cases of splitting and argue that much of this taxonomic inflation is artificial due to shortcomings of the PSC and unjustified reliance on insufficient morphological and/or genetic data. We particularly discourage species splitting based on gene trees inferred from mitochondrial DNA only and phenetic analyses aimed at diagnosability. Uncritical acceptance of new species creates an unnecessary burden on the conservation of biodiversity.

Abstract

Recently, many new (extant) mammal species have been named, mostly by raising subspecies to species rank. This is primarily a consequence of the phylogenetic species concept (PSC) that has become very popular over the last few decades. We highlight several cases of splitting and argue that much of this taxonomic inflation is artificial due to shortcomings of the PSC and unjustified reliance on insufficient morphological and/or genetic data. We particularly discourage species splitting based on gene trees inferred from mitochondrial DNA only and phenetic analyses aimed at diagnosability. Uncritical acceptance of new species creates an unnecessary burden on the conservation of biodiversity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:21 Jan 2013 08:31
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 18:44
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1616-5047
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2012.07.083

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