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Re: Hybridization between Genera [was: RE: SUCHOMIMUS = BARYONYX]

> From: "Joseph E. Forks" <jforks@satx.rr.com>
> Reply-To: jforks@satx.rr.com
> Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 11:09:45 -0600
> To: "Dinosaur@Usc. Edu" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Subject: Hybridization between Genera [was: RE: SUCHOMIMUS = BARYONYX]

>>> This definition is null and void when it comes to Snakes, and possibly
>>> many other Reptiles and Amphibians.
> Well I would have to say that these folks are bending the definition of
> "Species" or ignoring it altogether.  They ought to take a closer look at
> the parents of the "Fertile Hybrids".    If the parents are from two
> different genera and if they are indeed producing fertile offspring, then
> perhaps those two different genera are in fact the same species, by
> definition.
> **************************************************************************
Joe Forks wrote:
> In all fairness I was waiting for
> someone to use that definition of a "species" so I could ambush them using
> snakes as my example.

Sorry, I didn't mean to get embroiled in a lumper verses splitter arguement.
The Audubon Field Guide says of the family Colubrid:  "This huge assemblage
of snakes displays so great a range of physical characteristics that
biologists are forever trying to reshuffle the species into more managable
sub groups."  
> In the case of Hybridizing snakes:
> We are talking about the three genera that include the Kingsnakes
> (Lampropeltis),
> Ratsnakes (Elaphe), and Bull, Pine and Gopher Snakes (Pituophis). All
> totaled
> these three genera include a minimum of 14 species in North America
> (L. triangulum, L. getula, L. calligaster, L. pyromelana, L. zonata, L.
> alterna,
> L. mexicana, E. obsoleta, E. guttata, E. flavirufa, E. triaspis, P.
> catenifer,
> P. melanoluecus, P. deppei, and I'm sure I'm leaving some out). Some very
> different animals indeed.

The same Audubon Field Guide has listed a single genus and species for
Pine-Gopher Snake:   Pituophis  melanoluecus, with 10 subspecies:  Northern
Pine, Sonora Gopher, San Deigo Gopher, Pacific Gopher, Santa Cruz Gopher,
Great Basin Gopher, Black Pine, Florida Pine, Louisiana Pine and Bullsnake.
Each subspecies has it's own range and while they overlap somewhat it takes
all 10 ranges to pretty much cover the US.  So, you've got a single species
here with 10 regional subspecies, all with different color patterns to match
their habitat.  

> If the above definition of species is absolute, we can toss out 150 years of
> Herpetological Taxonomy.  All it proves is that Lampropeltis, Pituophis,
> and Elaphe are more closely related than Canus and Felis, or Ursus and
> Camelops.

Precicely, and their classification should reflect that.  I wouldn't toss
out all that Herps taxonomy.  I would say that in the light of recent
revelations and demonstrations by snake breeders, that 14 or more species
from three different genera can freely "hybridize" when brought together.
Yes; that tells me that these snakes are all more closely related than
previously understood.  Therefore their classification should be
reconsidered.  You've got 150 year old Herpatologists working in various
habitats at different times, each describing similar but seemingly different
species.  Then the Herps breeder types come along 100 years later and
discover that all these different species freely interbreed and produce
viable offspring, the criteria for a single species.   When new information
is discovered you adjust the theory or classification to fit the definition,
Isn't that what science does??  Rather than sticking to the dogma and
saying: "Ooh look!.  Hybrids from three seperate genera!"  I think you have
one genus, with two or three closely related species, and a whole bunch of
divergent subspecies and races occupying different habitats and niches.
(The San Diego Gopher vs the Santa Cruz Gopher.  Gimmy a break!  Didn't
these guys play in the world series a few years ago?)

> Take it with a grain of salt I guess.

Well, if you just want to blow it off I guess that's ok.    Species and to a
lesser extent genus, as was defined to me, should be the anchor of any
classification system.   All other classification is arbitrary, artificial
and subjective depending on who's in charge, a lumper or a splitter.  Sounds
like splitters have dominated snake taxonomy, and now your snake breeders
are having to stretch the definition to include 3 genera.  Are you
interested in the science or are you just interested in producing  designer
snakes for the collectors?
> As a side note I mentioned that Hybridization examples between different
> genera
> are extremely rare in the wild.

And are they viable offspring or mules??  I'll give you three species if the
offspring are sterile.  -  Bill

Bill & Rebecca Hunt
Hunt Wildlife Studios
119 Bierstadt Ct
Livermore,  CO  80536
e-mail;  bill@huntstudios.com
Web;  http://www.huntstudios.com

>Hybridization examples between different
> sympatric
> species are much more common however in the wild (among snakes).
> Joe