Listen, Chahouas, you are not who we told you you were

This morning an article published yesterday by the scientific-journal Zootaxa was brought to my attention.  The journal itself deals with the taxonomical classification of animals, something that interests me as a connection between the world of biology and my professional position as an archivist.  Taxonomy is essentially the way we identify what things are through names we give them and classifications.  In the library and archives world this helps organize information to make it easier for people to access.  In biology taxonomy tells us that this animal is a Gekko gekko and this one is a Pogona vitticeps.  All of this comes from a field known as phylogeny, which studies the evolutionary path of species and uses morphological characteristics of the animals to classify them taxanomically.  There are some interesting projects out there dealing with all of this, such as Morphobank.org, which uses the internet to help scientists and others identify morphological differences between images of animals to help classify species.  Fascinating stuff, but I am getting away from the issue at hand.

This article, titled "Revision of the giant geckos of New Caledonia (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae: Rhacodactylus)," examines the characterists of the animals on New Caledonia, specifically the genus Rhacodactylus, and explains why they are characterized how they are and if all of the species currently in the genus belong there.  In full disclosure I have only read the linked abstract because that is all I have access to, but one major change from this article is a call to pull the Chahoua from the genus and give them their own genus, Mniarogekko.  This means that now I have to sit down with everyone's favorite chahouas like Green Man and Zenobia and let them know that the Gargoyles living next door are not really family like we thought they were.  What this means for the Chahoua and the Rhacodactylus genus I could not really say.  Does it mean either of them will warrent more study?  Perhaps more interest?  Who knows, but I would love to hear thoughts on the matter.

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