New Annotation: Evidence of Presence

Maybe this is a dumb question, but what does it matter if animal is present or not in observation for this annotation? Multiple EoPs are possible.

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  • Construction : Useful.
  • Evidence of feeding : Helpful, although I usually just call this “leftovers”. Strikes me as requiring more knowledge of an organism’s behaviour.
  • Scratch or rub : I would favour something broader that doesn’t imply knowledge of the animal’s purpose in interacting with the environment. Feels ambiguous to me.
    • Often along a trail I will see a hole dug by a grizzly, possibly in the process of obtaining food. Is this “evidence of feeding” or “construction” or “scratch or rub”?
    • Stumps of trees downed by a chewing beaver. Is this “construction” or “evidence of feeding” or both? e.g. Observation of downed tree stump
  • Hair : Makes sense.
  • Gall : Helpful! I’d like to be able to filter for gall photos to compare with ones I’ve seen.
  • Leaf mine : I’m uninformed here. Probably helpful.

Missing:

  • Tooth : Teeth aren’t bones (they’re Luxury Bones™), but bones are listed as being “endoskeletal”. Might be good to formally expand the “Bone” category or create a separate one, since they’re a fairly common find:

A general trend that I’ve been observing on the usage of Track is that some might take it to be a more expansive term. Although you define track in a particular way,

I’ve seen several uses on iNat where it is being used on evidence besides prints or impressions. Perhaps in some communities (perhaps hunters), “track” has a larger connotation; I recall a hunter acquaintance of mine using the noun “track” in a more expansive sense. Dictionary definitions also tend to go wider (e.g. “detectable evidence that something has passed”).

Might be worth clarifying with “track pattern” or “track imprints”. Looking at Chordata photos and filtering by “Track” has a small but noticeable number (<5%) of the observations being in a different sense. Some might include broken branches, although I’m not sure that would better fit in rubbing/scratching.

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That’s what I thought when I first read it, but then why is it restricted only to mammals? I think the implied meaning of ‘scratch’ there is that an animal is using the environment to scratch or rub itself, not that an animal has left a scratch in a tree.

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I definitely saw it as meaning a scratch in a tree. E.g. where a deer rubbed its antlers on something and left a mark, or claw marks from large predators.

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Why only restricted to mammals then? Seems like any animal could make that sort of mark

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Large cats leave ‘Here be Dragons’ scratch marks to identify their territory.
That is distinctive, and noticeable.

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I found this obs yesterday, which my best guess is bark stripped off a tree by a squirrel: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/88208526
Assuming for the sake of argument that is what it is, would this be a scratch/rub? It looks a lot like one, and doesn’t seem materially different to me from a bear scratching at a tree for unknown reasons (if scratches are not tracks). I suppose it could be evidence of feeding or construction, though it would be difficult to guess a priori what it was planning on doing with this particular bark. If it is, maybe scratch/rub should be expanded to at least vertebrates because birds could also possibly peel/scratch/damage bark. I’m not sure if a reptile rubbing against bark to shed or itch would ordinarily cause enough damage to be noticeable, but it seems like at least in principle such an observation could exist and would be another reason to expand it to vertebrates.

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I would think that could be a scratch or rub. It certainly fits better than the other options. If it was from a squirrel, and was removed on purpose, it would probably be used as building material rather than food. I still wouldn’t be for marking it construction, since to me that implies a finished or in progress structure rather than just materials. Others may disagree. And I don’t see a good reason to limit the annotation to mammals. The main reason I see for that is that mammals are the most likely animals to make such a mark, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones. I see no negative effect in offering it as an option for other vertebrates.

Has an observation is a specimen annotation been suggested? Specimen may be useful to indicate in some way, even if not in an annotation but in some other element of the observation page.

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There’re observation fields for that.

Leaf curl. I’m still waiting to figure out what to do about that one.

Came to the thread to suggest that a CID of ‘Araneae’ (spiders) allow an Evidence of Presence tag of ‘webbing/silk’. Would definitely appreciate seeing that one added. :)

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That fits under construction.

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Perhaps it would simplify the process of annotating to have ‘Alive organism’ and ‘Dead organism’ as options under evidence of presence - reducing the number of selections to be made.

I wanted to add another comment supporting a nest annotation, just because it seems like the first priority or choice that may come to mind so I’m unsure why it wasn’t among the first additions. Nest can apply to a variety of wildlife, for example birds, insects, etc. The term could be used in a broad/inclusive sense, also applying to related things like burrows, and loosely translate into evidence of where the organism resides inferred by corresponding changes made to the natural environment. I’d also be fine if another term were used as long as identically, like residence or whichever term is best.

What problem do you have with nests falling under construction?

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Now I remember construction has also been discussed, although it wasn’t one of items in the first round of additions, which is what I’m partially referring to in wondering why. Construction and nest each have pros and cons. Construction may seem to encompass more forms of evidence, although isn’t the most familiar term to use in this context (so, many users will be confused unless reading the intended definition somewhere). Nest is an immediately recognizable word, but may sound too narrow in scope (although could be used in a broader sense). I’m fine with either or a different term as long as it means the same thing.

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“Construction” could include both a beaver lodge and a beaver dam, but the former is a dwelling (home), same as a burrow or nest, and the latter isn’t.

I thought of “artifact” as a term that might be applicable to anything constructed but that term is almost always applied to things made by humans and is a bit obscure.

Alternative name for ‘construction’ could be ‘architecture’, there’s already a good-sized group that chose that as their descriptor, which I suspect would translate well into other languages.

I’ve read through a third of this topic, but decided it is quicker to just ask: Is there a decision on what evidence of presence applies to galls, please?