the saga of the antpitta

May 28, 2011

in Birds, Science

In 2007, a new species of antpitta was discovered in Urrao,  Antioquia, Colombia. Things went sideways from there.

This is the kind of long, convoluted story that I find both fascinating and that I like to write about. It seems to have no end, though, so I’ll provide links to the most succinct timelines and closest-to-the-source posts. One stop shopping!

  • 6 March 2011: First, Gunnar Engllom gives a blow-by-blow chronology with relevant points.
    • Includes full text of a Science magazine review of the situation, reflected by the facts as they were known at the time.
    • Also, links to both papers describing the species, and important associated editorials and responses.
    • Finally, a series of updates at the bottom.
  • March 2011: Detailed discussion of the validity of the ProAves-proposed name and description, from the South American Classification Committee.
  • 28 March 2011: A letter from the editor of The Condor clarifying the events surrounding the publication (pdf); a very damning statement against ProAves. (Some background here in an English editorial from the editors of Ornitología Colombiana, the journal of the Asociación Colombiana de Ornitología.
  • 30 March 2011: Statement of clarification of events by discoverer Diego Caranton.

Things have been a little quiet lately. Where will this go from here? What will be the final decision on the naming of this bird? How damaged is the reputation of ProAves, and how fractured the relationship between it and Colombian ornithologists?  Stay tuned.

Update, August 2011: The South American Classification Committee has voted to accept Grallaria urraoensis as a new species, and to with that name and not that of G. fenwickorum due to, uh, technical difficulties. Another great analysis/rehash, and, I think, the right decision.


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