Zachos, Frank E. and Apollonio, Marco and Bärmann, Eva Verena and Festa Bianchet, Marco and Göhlich, Ursula and Habel, Jan Christian and Haring, Elisabeth and Kruckenhauser, Luise and Lovari, Sandro and Mc Devitt, Allan D. and Pertoldi, Cino and Rössner, Gertrud E. and Sánchez Villagra, Marcelo R. and Scandura, Massimo and Suchentrunk, Franz (2013) Species inflation and taxonomic artefacts: a critical comment on recent trends in mammalian classification. Mammalian Biology, Vol. 78 (1), p. 1-6. eISSN 1618-1476. Article.
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Recently, many new (extant) mammal species have been named, mostly by raising subspecies to species rank. This is primarily a consequence of the phylogenetic species concept (PSC) that has become very popular over the last few decades. We highlight several cases of splitting and argue that much of this taxonomic inflation is artificial due to shortcomings of the PSC and unjustified reliance on insufficient morphological and/or genetic data. We particularly discourage species splitting based on gene trees inferred from mitochondrial DNA only and phenetic analyses aimed at diagnosability. Uncritical acceptance of new species creates an unnecessary burden on the conservation of biodiversity.
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