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Naming rare extant dinosaurs (The experts speak)



This was forwarded to me by Ian Paulson, and I got permission from Ellen
Paul to post it here.  Some great references on this subject are included
below.  Quite an interesting uproar developed in the aftermath of the
release of the only known specimen of this little dinosaur back into the
wild.  I found Storrs Olson's comments interesting.


From: Ellen Paul <ellen.paul@verizon.net>

>This argument came up with 
> the
> Somalia Bush-shrike (Laniarius liberatus), aka Bulo Burti Bush 
> Shrike. A
> single specimen was captured in an isolated patch of disturbed 
> acacia
> scrub at Bulo Burti, central Somalia in January 1989, taken to 
> Germany
> for study in captivity, and returned to Somalia and released at a
> different site in March 1990. There was quite a to-do about it at 
> the
> time, and Nigel Collar wrote it up in the Ibis. Unfortunately, IBIS 
> is
> only online from 2002 forward, so I can't retrieve it 
> electronically. I
> think I have a paper copy here somewhere...give  me a decade or two 
> to
> find it.
> 
> However, I did find this write-up in the newsletter of the 
> International
> Society for Environmental Ethics (Vol. 4, No.4; Winter 1992):
> 
> 
> Scientific collecting and endangered species. Ornithologists in 
> Somalia
> discovered a new species of shrike, captured the only specimen 
> seen,
> caged it, studied it for some months, took blood samples and 
> feathers
> for DNA analysis, but refused to kill it, and released it back into 
> the
> wild. They named the species LANIARIUS LIBERATUS, to emphasize that 
> the
> bird was described from a liberated individual. There is no type
> specimen, or, rather, the type specimen is still out there somewhere 
> in
> the wild. Nigel Collar, of the International Council for Bird
> Preservation, Cambridge, England, said, "I have no concern at all,
> absolutely no concern at all it was the right thing to do. It was
> totally and absolutely the right thing to do."
> 
> But systematists and museum curators have complained. Storrs L. 
> Olson,
> curator of birds at the National Museum of Natural History at the
> Smithsonian, says, "It's sentimentality getting in the way of good
> science. It's not rational. It's not logical." "We have standards. 
> And
> there is reason for the standards." There is nothing left to study 
> the
> species, no skin, no skeleton, no anatomy. We don't know the gut 
> length.
> We don't even know now what questions we might want to ask of a
> preserved specimen a hundred years hence. Scott Lanyon, head of the
> division of birds at the Field Museum of Natural History in 
> Chicago,
> says that it is time for systematists to take a stand. "If we don't
> respond to this kind of action, then others will feel that it's all
> right. This is a step backwards." Richard Banks, a bird systematist 
> with
> the U. S. Fish and Wildlife says the trend away from traditional
> preservation is growing. "There were two or three instances within 
> the
> last several years of people publishing photographs of birds, 
> describing
> new species with nothing more to serve as a specimen. I think that 
> it's
> bad business, bad science. It's not science at all to describe a 
> species
> on the basis that they did and without anything to serve as a type
> specimen."
> 
> Meanwhile, some mammalogists, good scientists, discovered an unknown 
> and
> rare shrew, named it CROCIDURA DESPERATA, "to point out the 
> desperate
> situation of the new species," and then killed the only two 
> individuals
> they had found for specimens. These events come on the heels of 
> Robert
> Loftin's timely analysis of the morality of scientific collecting 
> in
> ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS, Fall 1992. Story in NEW YORK TIMES, April 28,
> 1992. (Thanks to Kevin Eddings, Harrison, NY.)
> 
> 
> Ellen
> 
> -- 
> Ellen Paul
> Executive Director
> The Ornithological Council
> Mailto:ellen.paul@verizon.net
> Ornithological Council Website:  http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET
> "Providing Scientific Information about Birds"
--