Podcast Episode 12: Russ Mittermeier
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The new episode of the mammalwatching podcast has Charles Foley and me interviewing Russ Mittermeier world famous author, mammalogist, conservationist and primate watcher. Russ takes us on a trip from a Tarzan-loving kid, watching monkeys at the Bronx Zoo to a Tarzan-loving scientist, discovering new species of primates in the jungles of the Amazon and Madagascar, and becoming the first person to see all 80 genera of primate in the wild. We hear about why mammalwatching is a force for conservation good, the thrill of coming face to face with a Tiger on his first day in the forests of South-east Asia, and how tales of Yetis inspired Russ’s hunt for a White Uakari.
Look for “mammalwatching” on most podcast platforms or listen to it at mammalwatching.com/podcast. Here’s the YouTube trailer.
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It’s kind of funny to hear someone say that taxonomy should be science-based and then advocate for Conservation Species Concept almost in the same sentence 😉
Accepting bad taxonomies was only one of the major problems with HMW. The first volumes had appalling lack of editorial oversight (both scientific and technical), so in many species accounts there were errors literally in every sentence. With later volumes it got much better, although there are still a few misplaced maps, maps not matching the text, inconsistent approaches to native vs. non-native ranges, lame coverage of subspecies, etc. – I think in the whole series only one species account (Sus scrofa) has really good coverage of subspecies. But in those later volumes, many color plates are so bad that they are totally useless, a huge waste of space and money. Just look at Peromyscus or Lasiurus plates.
The reason I am writing this is that I hope those issues will be resolved if there is ever a second edition or a regularly updated electronic/online version, like with HBW. As far as I know, nothing has been corrected in the Illustrated Checklist (but I don’t have it so I might be wrong).