Starting this new thread as this is a side theme emerged in the Etiquette for ID of species with no visual differences .
I had read some posts there (for instance
@melodi_96 with https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/etiquette-for-id-of-species-with-no-visual-differences/9513/22
which came to my mind this morning while discussing (elsewhere, with a lady with degree in Natural Sciences) the topic of species identification using barcoding etc.
What I have been explained is that the topic of definition of a genus is a tricky topic often brought up at the biogeography (sorry from now on for the lingo, I know the italian terms, not sure what are the proper ones in English) exams in the Natural Science curricula.
in particular the old concept of species where the tell-apart factor is sterile hybridization is not considered that valid (or at least universal criteria) and currently there has been a move towards a concept of genetic distance and biogeographycal distance.
Examples brought are
- Emys trinacriae been distinguished as a new species from E. orbicularis based on their different location. Not on the fact that they cannot interbreed with fertile offsprings if mixed
- in botany, it seems it has never worked (my interlocutor told her professor of geobotany used to joke that “oaks are prostitutes”
- micro-organism where reproduction is not sexual.
reference given is a book by Zunini-Zullini " Biogeografia. La dimensione spaziale dell’evoluzione"
Now, I thought worth discussing as there seem to be some animus in using the location as a way to determine species which at this point should not (always) be.
And I think this should also reframe the expectations when striving for the absolute precision using macrophotography to proceed with an ID. 100% certainty in most cases cannot be reached, if what I have been told is correct. And expectations on iNat ID should go along.
Writing this post to get also some further elaboration from people working with Natural Science. This does not mean I do not welcome other contributions, too.
Please note! I’d like the contributions to be humble and polite, without people throwing adjectives around from their high horses. Saying just to avoid what happened in the other thread. Thanks!