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Thread: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

  1. #1
    Dutch, bold and Thamnophis-crazy Thamnophis's Avatar
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    Cool The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    As some of you already know Raymond Hoser has "reviewed" the genus Thamnophis.
    In this topic I'd like to show what his results are.

    Of course we can all ignore this guy, but we can also look critically at his work.
    Personally I think the last thing is the best. I like to stay informed about these matters, even though I attach little value.
    “I like to know my enemy”.

    Mr. Hoser is a controversial person who is criticized a lot. Not only he revises lots of genera etc. in a way that is not the way other herpetologists think is acceptable, he also gets lots of criticism in other matters.
    Think about the venemoids he creates. A venomoid is a venomous snake that has undergone a surgical procedure to remove or inhibit the production of venom. This is, in my opinion, a serious case of animal cruelty!
    This venemoid matter has nothing to do with his revisions, but does not make him credible being a serious herpetologist.

    Want to know more about him and his working methods, you can take a look at Wikipedia and when you want even more info and criticism about his work, Google his name.

    The revision of the genus Thamnophis can be found in issue 12, 2012 of the Australasian Journal of Herpetology
    Because this is a very big PDF and takes some time to download, I copied the Thamnophis part and made an other, much smaller PDF of it.

    A review of the North American Garter Snakes Genus Thamnophis

    Let’s try to keep the discussion civilized!

    See how the snakes of the genus Thamnophis are going to be classified according to Mr. Hoser.

    Content of Thamnophis Fitzinger, 1843

    Thamnophis sauritus (Linnaeus, 1766)
    Thamnophis sirtalis (Linnaeus, 1758)
    Thamnophis proximus (Say, 1823)

    Content of Genus Chilopoma Cope, 1875

    Chilopoma rufipunctatum Cope, 1875 (Type species)
    Chilopoma angustirostris (Kennicott, 1860)
    Chilopoma copei (Dugès, 1879)
    Chilopoma bogerti (Rossman and Burbink, 2005)
    Chilopoma conanti (Rossman and Burbink, 2005)
    Chilopoma exsul (Rossman, 1969)
    Chilopoma foxi (Rossman and Blaney, 1968)
    Chilopoma godmani (Günther, 1894)
    Chilopoma lineri (Rossman and Burbink, 2005)
    Chilopoma melanogaster (Weigmann, 1830)
    Chilopoma mendax (Walker, 1955)
    Chilopoma scalaris (Cope, 1861)
    Chilopoma scaliger (Jan, 1863)
    Chilopoma sumichrasti (Cope, 1866)
    Chilopoma valida (Kennicott, 1860)

    Content of subgenus Adelophis Dugès, 1879

    Chilopoma (Adelophis) copei (Dugès, 1879)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) bogerti (Rossman and Burbink, 2005)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) conanti (Rossman and Burbink, 2005)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) exsul (Rossman, 1969)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) foxi (Rossman and Blaney, 1968)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) godmani (Günther, 1894)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) lineri (Rossman and Burbink, 2005)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) melanogaster (Weigmann, 1830)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) mendax (Walker, 1955)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) scalaris (Cope, 1861)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) scaliger (Jan, 1863)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) sumichrasti (Cope, 1866)
    Chilopoma (Adelophis) valida (Kennicott, 1860)

    Content of Genus Brucerogersus gen. nov.

    Brucerogersus chrysocephalus (Cope, 1885)
    Brucerogersus fulvus (Bocourt, 1893)

    Content of Genus Gregswedoshus gen. nov.

    Gregswedoshus elegans (Baird and Girard, 1853) (Type species)
    Gregswedoshus atratus (Kennicott, 1860)
    Gregswedoshus brachystoma (Cope, 1892)
    Gregswedoshus butleri (Cope, 1889)
    Gregswedoshus couchii (Kennicott, 1859)
    Gregswedoshus cyrtopsis (Kennicott, 1860)
    Gregswedoshus eques (Reuss, 1834)
    Gregswedoshus gigas (Fitch, 1940)
    Gregswedoshus hammondii (Kennicott, 1860)
    Gregswedoshus marcianus (Baird and Girard, 1853)
    Gregswedoshus nigronuchalis (Thompson, 1957)
    Gregswedoshus ordinoides (Baird and Girard, 1852)
    Gregswedoshus postremus (Smith, 1942)
    Gregswedoshus rossmani (Conant, 2000)
    Gregswedoshus pulchrilatus (Cope, 1885)
    Gregswedoshus radix (Baird and Girard, 1853)

    Content of Subgenus Whybrowus subgen. nov.

    Gregswedoshus (Whybrowus) cyrtopsis (Kennicott, 1860) (Monotypic for the type species)

    Content of subgenus Neilsonnemanus subgen. nov.

    Gregswedoshus (Neilsonnemanus) eques (Reuss, 1834) (Type
    species)
    Gregswedoshus (Neilsonnemanus) marcianus (Baird and
    Girard, 1853)
    Gregswedoshus (Neilsonnemanus) postremus (Smith, 1942)
    Gregswedoshus (Neilsonnemanus) pulchrilatus (Cope, 1885)
    Gregswedoshus (Neilsonnemanus) rossmani (Conant, 2000)
    It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner. Frank Zappa

  2. #2
    "PM Boots For Custom Title" chris-uk's Avatar
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    I responded to his post on RFUK and used Nerodia as an example of how he's not provided any credible argument for reclassification. As the Thamnophis piece (I can't bring myself to call it an article when it's "published" in a vanity journal with questionable peer-review) is now available I shall have a read of it.
    I suspect the main arguments I had against the Nerodia piece will apply here as well -
    - He promises new genetic evidence, but doesn't produce any.
    - He makes continuous statements that articles he reference provide "strong evidence" to justify reclassification, but doesn't describe those arguments.
    - His work isn't properly peer-reviewed, and his "journal" contains articles written only by himself, where he is the author, editor and publisher. Even if they are peer reviewed nobody could really consider his articles to be published in a credible scientific journal. If it were credible there would be copies in the British Library and the US Library of Congress.

    I expect Hoser will stop by and argue his case, he did post a thread about a month ago which I thought was a late April Fools joke. There's a good chance that this thread will remain more objective than the one on RFUK, where the contributions were generally just calling Hoser an <insert derogatory term or expletive>.
    Chris
    T. marcianus, T. e. cuitzeoensis, T. cyrtopsis, T. radix, T. s. infernalis, T. s. tetrataenia

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    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    Hoser:

    "Phylogentic studies by Pyron et. a. (2011) confirmed the obviously paraphyletic
    nature of Thamnophis as generally defined at the time, leading the authors to
    specifically note the paraphyletic nature of the genus."



    Pyron et al. (2011):

    "Our phylogeny also suggests paraphyly of many genera
    (e.g., Crotalus, Enhydris, Nerodia, Rhadinophis, Stenophis, Thamnophis,
    Vipera, Zamenis, etc.), though we refrain from addressing generic-
    level taxonomy, pending more complete sampling."



    Also, looking at the phylogenetic tree in the Pyron et al. article, it includes a species (Adelophis foxi) not currently classified as Thamnophis. That seems to be why it's possibly paraphyletic.

  4. #4
    "PM Boots For Custom Title" chris-uk's Avatar
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    Nice observation Stefan. I had previously described Hoser's work as a literary review with no new primary research. What you've pointed out there is that it is a literary review with significant "reinterpretation" of the original authors conclusions. If Pyron et al couldn't address the taxonomy without further work the only way Hoser could use their work as "evidence" is to misrepresent the results and hope nobody went back to the referenced paper.

    Now the useful bits of the discussion on RFUK pointed out that Hoser is attempting to use the "rules of classification" with a shotgun approach, using the principle that if a new classification (genus, species, etc.) is accepted then it is the first published name that should be used for to name it. He's hoping that someone with greater skill and intellect will come to the same conclusion as him about dividing at least one snake genus, and when the division is accepted by the herp community he can step in and claim a right to name it because he "published" first.

    I also thought I'd check my facts, as I'd assumed that the British Library didn't carry Hoser's journal. According to their online catalogue I assumed correctly.
    Stefan-A likes this.
    Chris
    T. marcianus, T. e. cuitzeoensis, T. cyrtopsis, T. radix, T. s. infernalis, T. s. tetrataenia

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    Dutch, bold and Thamnophis-crazy Thamnophis's Avatar
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    So if I understand correctly Hoser just searches in papers of others for information and interprets it in his own way.
    And for example in the case of Thamnophis, he probably never had a garter snake "in his hands"?

    What motivates someone to keep doing this while everyone thinks he is crazy? Would his ego be to big for his brain? Or he licked too many Cane toads Down Under?
    It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner. Frank Zappa

  6. #6
    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    There are a lot of nutters out there who do things like this, he's not even close to being the worst.

    What motivates people to do things like this? Narcissism, delusions of grandeur, faith.




    Edit:

    2 hours after this post, I noticed the following post in the moderation queue:

    Quote Originally Posted by thesnakeman View Post
    Dear all, I'll post the recent divisions and phylogeny up for you to see.
    I am sure it will draw a few howls of protest and indignation, but the division was
    inevitable...
    For those who don't want change, you can be happy that it usually takes up to 20 years for new names to
    move into general usage...Attachment 5418

    All the best

  7. #7
    thesnakeman
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    Dear all,
    I see the inevitable howls of protests, false claims and derogatory remarks in terms of the recent reclassifications.
    However so far not one person has produced a post to say “Hoser is wrong because Thamnophis is monophyletic and here is the evidence....”.
    Besides the fact that some persons posting here may think I have never set hands on a snake in my life, they are upset that their local library hasn’t got a hard copy of AJH (tell them to order one!) and others think that venomoiding snakes is cruel (none being relevant in any way in terms of the taxonomy) no one has addressed the central issue at hand – namely the dissection of a paraphyletic genus.
    Now I should also point out that my basis for posting the details of AJH was not to seek endorsement of it’s contents, so much as to merely make it known to persons interested which is a recommendation of the ICZN rules (but not strict requirement) that I have complied with.
    Besides the usual troll comments, I am sure the main reaction will be one of general indifference from people who really don’t care what the name of garter snakes is or is not ... they just like the snakes!
    In terms of the hateful comments, it strikes me more of an ego factor involved in that the posters hate the idea that some of their snakes may have the word “Hoser” tacked on the end of the their scientific names.
    Now I will be dead in a few short years and everyone else here will follow suit sooner or later.
    In 100 years from now, people will only be concerned that the snakes are properly named, not who named them.
    For those 150 years old, you will recall the howls of protest when the late Mr Cope took the taxonomists axe to more than 900 reptiles and frogs!
    Me naming a few dozen pales into insignificance by comparison!
    Which brings me to the rules of zoology. To publish a taxonomic paper does not require the results of original research. It can merely involve revisiting that of others. I revisited that of Pyron et. al. and others and decided to differ in my opinion in that I thought a dissection of Thamnophis was overdue. I set out my reasons in the paper and acted accordingly.
    As I said before, if someone has evidence that the genus is monophyletic rather than paraphyletic and the evidence can be corroborated, (heard of mtDNA?) then it is unlikely the two genera I have assigned will ever get widely used.
    If not, then you know what to expect.
    All the best
    Snakeman
    Thamnophis-Phylogeny-new-genera-pyron-cut-marked-up-small.jpgAJH-Four-issues-Lo-res.jpg

  8. #8
    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    Quote Originally Posted by thesnakeman View Post
    However so far not one person has produced a post to say “Hoser is wrong because Thamnophis is monophyletic and here is the evidence....”.
    Do you know why? Because that's not the issue. Nobody cares if Thamnophis is monophyletic. The consequences for us, if the change is deemed valid, is learning a couple of new names.

    no one has addressed the central issue at hand – namely the dissection of a paraphyletic genus.
    Because nobody cares. Nobody is emotionally invested in the current makeup of the genus Thamnophis. Most of us already knew that the genus wasn't set in stone.

    Besides the usual troll comments, I am sure the main reaction will be one of general indifference from people who really don’t care what the name of garter snakes is or is not ... they just like the snakes!
    Ding ding ding! Maybe you should talk to some actual scientists, not random hobbyists on the internet.

    In terms of the hateful comments, it strikes me more of an ego factor involved in that the posters hate the idea that some of their snakes may have the word “Hoser” tacked on the end of the their scientific names.
    What makes you think that anyone else cares about the name tacked on the end of scientific names?

    In 100 years from now, people will only be concerned that the snakes are properly named, not who named them.
    100 years from now? No, that's today.

    For those 150 years old, you will recall the howls of protest when the late Mr Cope took the taxonomists axe to more than 900 reptiles and frogs!
    You're not Cope and this isn't the 1800's.

    Which brings me to the rules of zoology. To publish a taxonomic paper does not require the results of original research. It can merely involve revisiting that of others. I revisited that of Pyron et. al. and others and decided to differ in my opinion in that I thought a dissection of Thamnophis was overdue. I set out my reasons in the paper and acted accordingly.
    Suppose nobody's buying your stated reasons?

    As I said before, if someone has evidence that the genus is monophyletic rather than paraphyletic and the evidence can be corroborated, (heard of mtDNA?) then it is unlikely the two genera I have assigned will ever get widely used.
    It's still not the issue here.

    If not, then you know what to expect.
    A damp squib?
    Thamnophis and EasternGirl like this.

  9. #9
    thesnakeman
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    Dear Stefan-A, I am sorry you seem so emotional over a few new names...

    You wrote in reply to me:



    "As I said before, if someone has evidence that the genus is monophyletic rather than paraphyletic and the evidence can be corroborated, (heard of mtDNA?) then it is unlikely the two genera I have assigned will ever get widely used.



    It's still not the issue here."

    I am sorry to correct you, but THIS IS the issue!

    All the best

  10. #10
    Forum Moderator Stefan-A's Avatar
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    Re: The "Hoser review" of the genus Thamnophis...

    Quote Originally Posted by thesnakeman View Post
    Dear Stefan-A, I am sorry you seem so emotional over a few new names...
    Did I just not explain to you that the names mean absolutely nothing? I could have sworn that I did.

    "Do you know why? Because that's not the issue. Nobody cares if Thamnophis is monophyletic. The consequences for us, if the change is deemed valid, is learning a couple of new names." - Me.
    "Because nobody cares. Nobody is emotionally invested in the current makeup of the genus Thamnophis. Most of us already knew that the genus wasn't set in stone." - Me.
    "Ding ding ding! Maybe you should talk to some actual scientists, not random hobbyists on the internet." - Me.
    "What makes you think that anyone else cares about the name tacked on the end of scientific names?" - Me.
    "100 years from now? No, that's today." - Me.

    Yup. That's five instances of me explaining in no uncertain terms that you are barking up the wrong tree with the whole "emotional over a few names" garbage, and why that is the case.

    I am sorry to correct you, but THIS IS the issue!
    It's not the issue. It's not even close to being the issue. Remember who your audience is. We are not the ICZN, most of us have little or no relevant scientific training (do you?), we do not presume to call ourselves herpetologists just because we've kept and handled snakes in one context or another. We're not in a position to evaluate original research, but we most certainly are in a position to evaluate how it's applied by laymen and the credibility of those narcissistic individuals who would leech off the work of others attempting to gain some personal glory while actually contributing nothing. Why do you care about naming rights? Why do you care whether some of our snakes may have the word “Hoser” tacked on the end of the their scientific names?

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