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Still Waters

New African crocodile species discovered

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Still Waters

IT’S NOT EVERY day that you find a new crocodile species. For the first time in more than 80 years, researchers have fully described and named a new species—the Central African slender-snouted crocodile—which is found in a broad swathe of the continent from Cameroon to Tanzania.

This species has been dubbed Mecistops leptorhynchus, and characterized in a study published on October 24 in the journal Zootaxa.

The animal was, until now, considered to be the same species as its West African counterpart, Mecistops cataphractus, which will retain its original scientific name. The new designation brings the total population of the West African species down enough that it is now considered critically endangered. There are only about 500 individuals left in the wild, estimates Matt Shirley, study lead author and a researcher at Florida International University.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/10/crocodile-new-species-slender-snouted-africa-news/?

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Carnoferox
32 minutes ago, Still Waters said:

IT’S NOT EVERY day that you find a new crocodile species. For the first time in more than 80 years, researchers have fully described and named a new species—the Central African slender-snouted crocodile—which is found in a broad swathe of the continent from Cameroon to Tanzania.

This species has been dubbed Mecistops leptorhynchus, and characterized in a study published on October 24 in the journal Zootaxa.

The animal was, until now, considered to be the same species as its West African counterpart, Mecistops cataphractus, which will retain its original scientific name. The new designation brings the total population of the West African species down enough that it is now considered critically endangered. There are only about 500 individuals left in the wild, estimates Matt Shirley, study lead author and a researcher at Florida International University.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/10/crocodile-new-species-slender-snouted-africa-news/?

This species isn't new at all. M. leptorhynchus was named way back in 1835 and has only been resurrected by the current authors. I don't think the author of the Nat Geo article read the paper through.

https://sci-hub.tw/https://biotaxa.org/Zootaxa/article/view/zootaxa.4504.2.1

Edited by Carnoferox
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Saru
On 24/10/2018 at 10:14 PM, Carnoferox said:

This species isn't new at all. M. leptorhynchus was named way back in 1835 and has only been resurrected by the current authors. I don't think the author of the Nat Geo article read the paper through.

https://sci-hub.tw/https://biotaxa.org/Zootaxa/article/view/zootaxa.4504.2.1

It was known about, but until now wasn't considered to be a distinct species.

Previously it was thought to be a population of the West African slender-snouted crocodile.

Quote

From Wikipedia:

"It was once thought to be a population of the West African slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus) but was elevated to a species after two detailed studies, one in 2014 and the other in 2018."

 

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Carnoferox
20 minutes ago, Saru said:

It was known about, but until now wasn't considered to be a distinct species.

Previously it was thought to be a population of the West African slender-snouted crocodile.

M. leptorhynchus was previously considered to be distinct when it was named in 1835, but it was then sunk into M. cataphractus, and now has been resurrected by Shirley et al. All the articles claiming that Shirley et al. named this as a new species are misleading.

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Saru
1 hour ago, Carnoferox said:

M. leptorhynchus was previously considered to be distinct when it was named in 1835, but it was then sunk into M. cataphractus, and now has been resurrected by Shirley et al. All the articles claiming that Shirley et al. named this as a new species are misleading.

What you are saying may be true, but it doesn't change the core story here which is that the slender-snouted crocodile, which for years was believed to be one species, is now recognized as two distinct species instead of one - hence one additional, or "new", species.

Both Dr. Shirley and the Florida International University have described it as a "new species" in an article on the university's own website:

https://news.fiu.edu/2018/10/discovered-new-species-of-african-crocodile/127367

If you want to dispute the claim then you'll need to take it up with the university and the study authors directly.

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Jenn8779

I just love hearing about anything new in the natural world. It just validates my belief that we haven't discovered all that's out there

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Carnoferox
1 hour ago, Saru said:

What you are saying may be true, but it doesn't change the core story here which is that the slender-snouted crocodile, which for years was believed to be one species, is now recognized as two distinct species instead of one - hence one additional, or "new", species.

Both Dr. Shirley and the Florida International University have described it as a "new species" in an article on the university's own website:

https://news.fiu.edu/2018/10/discovered-new-species-of-african-crocodile/127367

If you want to dispute the claim then you'll need to take it up with the university and the study authors directly.

"New" implies either newly discovered or newly recognized as distinct, which this species is neither. There is no dispute with the authors as they acknowledge that it is not a new species in the paper. The problem is the poor state of science journalism where reporters don't even bother to read the papers.

Edited by Carnoferox

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Saru
13 minutes ago, Carnoferox said:

"New" implies either newly discovered or newly recognized as distinct, which this species is neither. There is no dispute with the authors as they acknowledge that it is not a new species in the paper. The problem is the poor state of science journalism where reporters don't even bother to read the papers.

The university the paper is from uses the term "new species" in its article covering this story.

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Carnoferox
2 minutes ago, Saru said:

The university the paper is from uses the term "new species" in its article covering this story.

Which, as I've already demonstrated, is totally incorrect. This article was not written by any authors of the paper.

Edited by Carnoferox

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Saru
5 minutes ago, Saru said:

Dr Shirley himself is quoted as stating: "My objective wasn’t to describe a new species."

Dr Shirley himself is quoted as stating: "My objective wasn’t to describe a new species", the implication being that he has done.

 

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Carnoferox
3 minutes ago, Saru said:

Dr Shirley himself is quoted as stating: "My objective wasn’t to describe a new species", the implication being that he has done.

That's fairly vague, and either way it doesn't change the fact that it isn't a new species. Unless you consider 183 years old "new", that is.

Edited by Carnoferox

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Saru
8 minutes ago, Carnoferox said:

That's fairly vague, and either way it doesn't change the fact that it isn't a new species. Unless you consider 183 years old "new", that is.

Perhaps you should contact him about it then - arguing about this here isn't going to achieve anything.

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Iilaa'mpuul'xem

How many animal species are seen on a regular basis that are new to science?.... I mean the majority of us could travel through a jungle, park, desert or the ocean etc and see many species and we would just assume they are all recognised to science, many small frogs or spiders, insects... unless your an expert in that species, we would just assume it has been registered. 

This Croc for example, how many people would know the difference between this and other crocs?...  

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Adampadum123

I like crocodiles

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