How not to write in defense of threatened tortoises

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Y.L. Werner


Prudent use of the limited conservation resources rests on solid taxonomy data. This is a critical review of a taxonomy paper aimed at conservation but in itself not fully reliable (“Genetic evidence for premature taxonomic inflation in Middle Eastern tortoisesâ€, Parham et al., 2006, Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 57: 955-964). Its authors consider that unjustified naming of species is detrimental to conservation. This reviewer considers the paper flawed in (a) selection and reportage of voucher specimens, partly erroneous or inaccurate; (b) methods; (c) scientific reasoning and conclusions; and (d) clarity of argumentation. Hence even if the results are supported by the more solid results of others, the paper in itself is considered not to be sufficiently reliable for systematics or conservation.

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Author Biography

Y.L. Werner

Yehudah L. Werner has participated in founding the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel; taught, in various capacities, vertebrate zoology and herpetology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem during 1953-1999; and edited the Israel Journal of Zoology during 1973-1989. As Professor Emeritus he continues to research.