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WikiProject Mammals (Rated Project-class)
This page is within the scope of WikiProject Mammals, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of mammal-related subjects on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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Consensus on taxonomy of domesticated animals?Edit

Recently, a user has challenged my edits of updating the taxonomy of the domestic goat from Capra aegagrus hircus to Capra hircus. They said I had no consensus of the issue, despite the fact that the source most commonly used for taxonomy here is the ASM (which I base my edits off of[1]). Was I somehow wrong in believing that is our main source, or is this person just not up to date regarding this? (They had also challenged my edits which were of the same nature to the horse and domestic pig). J0ngM0ng (talk) 21:15, 27 September 2021 (UTC)

ICZN Opinion 2027 & this article may be relevant, Maculosae tegmine lyncis (talk) 00:18, 28 September 2021 (UTC)
In my opinion, we really should consider domesticated mammals as separate species (per ASM), but it should be clearly noted in each article that some authors classify these taxa as subspecies of their wild relatives. HFoxii (talk) 14:50, 28 September 2021 (UTC)
WP reflects consensus, so should be on case by case basis, depending on what the current consensus is for each taxon Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 00:13, 29 September 2021 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant. The ASM considers domesticated mammals to be distinct species. However, in some other sources they are considered subspecies, and we should not ignore this (according to WP: NPOV). HFoxii (talk) 04:40, 29 September 2021 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Capra hircus". ASM Mammal Diversity Database. 1.5. American Society of Mammalogists. Retrieved 27 September 2021.

New skunksEdit

There’s a paper saying there are a few more skunk species out there: Spilogale leucoparia, Spilogale interrupta, and Spilogale yucatanensis.[1] --awkwafaba (📥) 11:26, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

Too early for new articles, we need a secondary source for that (IUCN or ASM). But the new information on the species split proposals should be added to the relevant species and genus articles. —  Jts1882 | talk  12:56, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
Agree - it's usually fine to get going on entirely novel descriptions, but splits can be fickle and waiting for some validation/acceptance is wise. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 14:33, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
Agree too. Whatever is on the server is neither reviewed nor published, hence not reliable. – BhagyaMani (talk) 14:58, 1 October 2021 (UTC)


  1. ^ McDonough, Molly M.; Ferguson, Adam W.; Dowler, Robert C.; Gompper, Matthew E.; Maldonado, Jesús E. (2020). "Phylogenomic systematics of the spotted skunks (Carnivora, Mephitidae, Spilogale): Additional species diversity and Pleistocene climate change as a major driver of diversification". doi:10.1101/2020.10.23.353045. S2CID 226229298. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

About time to split the wolves?Edit

The red wolf and eastern wolf are considered distinct species from the gray wolf by the American Society of Mammalogists. The red wolf being distinct has been well-established for a while now, with many authorities including the IUCN considering it distinct, with Wikipedia being a holdout due to its taxonomy being primarily based on the 2005 MSW list until the ASM database started recently. The eastern wolf being distinct is a bit more of a recent development but is still accepted by ASM. Should we finally classify them as distinct species? I'm just asking since these are likely very high-traffic articles, and I also tried to do this for the red wolf in late 2018 and it was reverted, although this was before the ASM list started I think.Geekgecko (talk) 04:44, 17 October 2021 (UTC)

I'm not sure whether ASM decisions are ultima ratio and think you should better discuss this at the gray wolf talk page. – BhagyaMani (talk) 07:19, 17 October 2021 (UTC)
Given that information on MSW3 is almost two decades old (and MSW4 seemingly being thing of myth), we need to move on. I think most of these discussions end up favouring a move when both the IUCN and ASM are in agreement. On the other hand, the Dog SG has started the process toward a revised taxonomy, so it might be better to wait for their decision. At the moment, both have articles and the alternative classifications are given. —  Jts1882 | talk  07:56, 17 October 2021 (UTC)
IIRC, it was decided awhile back that we should use the IUCN + ASM in agreement for updated taxonomy after the now outdated MSM. Waiting for the Dog SG sounds nice, but in practice could be a while. --SilverTiger12 (talk) 15:31, 17 October 2021 (UTC)
I support Jts1882's proposal to wait for the Canid SG's assessment. And @William Harris: ? – BhagyaMani (talk) 16:30, 17 October 2021 (UTC)
Thankyou BhagyaMani for the ping. The ASM does not dictate global canid taxonomy - it may be influential yes, but adjudicates no. These Wikipedia articles are not "holdouts", they express all points of view as is required by WP:NPOV. As long as there is one group of taxonomists or evolutionary biologists that can persuasively argue that these wolves are lupus then that is what needs to be represented along with all other points of view - please refer to the section above titled Consensus on taxonomy of domesticated animals?. I also support JTS in waiting for the Canid Reference Group to form a position - they have recently done so with "Old World" canids and nobody has rebutted them, thus the Old World canids have been amended on Wikipedia to support the CRG position. Once again, should the CRG form the opinion that these are separate species, we will need to revisit the position of the articles once that arises. William Harris (talk) 00:03, 18 October 2021 (UTC)
Thanks. Is there any timeline or planned date for the CRG's decision or is it unknown? Geekgecko (talk) 19:07, 18 October 2021 (UTC)
It is not known, but similar to the classification of the Old World canids when it is released it will come like a lightning bolt from the sky, and you can rest assured that both JTS and I are keeping a lookout for it. I respect your interest in keeping WP up to date. William Harris (talk) 06:53, 19 October 2021 (UTC)

Paenungulata EditsEdit

Some unregistered IPA (probably the same person) keeps reverting the claim of dinoceratans and the South American native ungulates as a whole in the taxobox. This is inaccurate and I explained it more in detail on the article's talk page. Anyway we can block said IPAs? 4444hhhh (talk) 18:10, 7 November 2021 (UTC)

Orinoco river dolphinEdit

Hey everyone, I am planning on making a page for the Orinoco river dolphin (Inia humboldtiana). The ASM presently classifies it as a distinct species based on a study from last year, which uses osteological and genetic evidence supporting it as being a distinct species (I'm no expert, but the evidence used in the study does seem pretty sufficient). However, most other authorities do not (likely since the study is still quite new), and even the ASM states that its classification is tentative until further research about contact zones comes about. I'm planning on having the article acknowledge both points of view, much like the articles for the Araguaian river dolphin and the Bolivian river dolphin. The main reason I'm giving a heads up here is because the individuals at Duisburg Zoo, which are used throughout the Amazon river dolphin page, seem to actually be Orinoco dolphins based on several sources, meaning that if I'm going to make a page about I. humboldtiana, I will have to remove those images from the Amazon dolphin page and replace them with ones of confirmed I. geoffrensis. So just wanted to give a heads up. Geekgecko (talk) 19:03, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

May be WP:TOOSOON, the only major database which I see lists "I. humboldtiana" is World Cetacea Database which says it's an unaccepted synonym   User:Dunkleosteus77 |push to talk  07:21, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
While I think it looks likely that at least three of the four species in the ASM-MDD will be recognised more widely, I have to agree that it is too soon. The Society for Marine Mammalogy and hence the IUCN are waiting for further information before making a split of I. araguaiaensis and I. boliviensis . Hrbek et al (2014) only find three distinct groups (based on molecular analyses, with supporting morphological evidence) and leave I. g. humboldtiana as subspecies of I. geoffrensis, although it's not clear how many samples were from the Orinoco basin, while Canizales (2020) proposes recognition of I. humboldtiana based on morphological evidence (but see Fig 9). I suspect further molecular evidence to corroborate this split is needed before the SMM and IUCN recognise this species. You could write the article in draft space, but you might have to wait a while for further news. It might be a better use of time to expand the current article to describe these potential splits. Both the IUCN and SMM have discussions on the evidence for potential splits. —  Jts1882 | talk  10:54, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

Strepsirrhini taxonomyEdit

Currently, the English Wikipedia uses a classification according to which the suborder Strepsirrhini subdivided into infraorders †Adapiformes and Lemuriformes (Lemuroidea + Lorisoidea). The taxonomy of strepsirrhines is very confusing, but this classification does not seem to be prevalent. At least ITIS, MSW3, and NCBI subdivide suborder Strepsirrhini into three infraorders: Lemuriformes, Lorisiformes, and Chiromyiformes. The same classification is used in recent phylogenetic research[1][2][3]. Unfortunately, adapiforms are not taken into account in this case, but since it is a paraphyletic group, I am not sure if we should use this taxon. HFoxii (talk) 05:23, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

Looks like the automated taxonbox system is following the two infraorder classification of Cantwell (2010). The controversies section compares the two and three infraorder systems, but doesn't mention the four infraorder system that would be consistent with the three extant infraorders used by MSW3, ASM-MDD and the phylogenetic studies you link to. Given MSW3 is still the recommended source for the project and its taxonomy holds up well (apart from the Cheirogaleoidea-Lemuroidea split in Lemuriformes) and is used in other recent sources, I think we should use the three extant infraorder system. —  Jts1882 | talk  11:09, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

Mole (animal)Edit

The existence of the article Mole (animal) somewhat confuses me. I would assume that it's talking about animals with the "mole" body plan (so most members of Talpidae, as well as Chrysochloridae and Notoryctidae), but most of the article aside from the section "Other 'moles'" refers exclusively to Talpidae. In addition, I doubt we need a separate article for "mole"; only a few members of Talpidae (the several shrew moles and desmans) really fall outside the "mole" body plan, and I'm pretty sure most people with knowledge of golden moles and marsupial moles would already acknowledge them as distinct from true moles. I propose that we remove all the info exclusively about Talpidae (and potentially move it to that page if it's not already there) and either make this article just about animals with the "mole" body plan or we just turn the whole article into a redirect to Talpidae.Geekgecko (talk) 23:37, 14 November 2021 (UTC)

Reliable sources noticeboard discussion about Encyclopedia of LifeEdit

Hi all

I've started a discussion on the reliable sources noticeboard about Encyclopedia of Life as a reliable source for Wikipedia, please share your thoughts here. I've added some basic information about EOL at the top of the section to help inform the discussion.

Thanks very much

John Cummings (talk) 20:24, 23 November 2021 (UTC)

Potential persistent disruption on animal pagesEdit

Hello all. A recently banned user, Somed00d1997, has made a prolific number of edits to animal pages. Many of these were disputed and reversed (and the user made clear that they were too smart to need consensus, which provoked multiple edit wars), but a number remain, ranging from less-trafficked species to high-profile pages like Duck. I imagine a number of them are totally fine, but I have no real expertise here, and thought it might be worthwhile to flag in case those who are more knowledgable on the subject wanted to have a look through their changes. The user also seems to have used a few sockpuppets once they were banned, including Reusensio.--Yaksar (let's chat) 16:32, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

Thanks for your note. I also had a few encounters with their sockpuppets, a 3rd bit the dust just after a few edits. – BhagyaMani (talk) 17:56, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

Giraffa sp.Edit

They did ask a fair question about whether the Giraffe should be split, which led me to look for the IUCN position on the taxonomy. But there was nothing in the taxonbar, my usual sort cut to IUCN information. I found to IUCN assessment on the single species of giraffe and started adding it to Wikidata, but they have the assessment assigned to the Northern giraffe, which is incorrect. There is a mess there that needs sorting. Maybe tomorrow. —  Jts1882 | talk  18:14, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

I had a go, the IUCN does indeed refer to a single species, not the genus Giraffa. ~ cygnis insignis 06:02, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
The Giraffe article treats the extant giraffe as one species, which means it should have a speciesbox for G. camelopardalis and connect to the Wikidata item on G. camelopardalis, not the one on Giraffa. Unfortunately, that Wikidata item for G. camelopardalis has been relabelled the northern giraffe, a narrower taxonomic concept for G. camelopardalis. The IUCN also treats the giraffe as a single species and their assessment applies to that single species, so it is an error for Wikidata to apply IUCN ID for G. camelopardalis to the Northern giraffe, as the assessment is not for that narrower concept of G. camelopardalis.
It's a bit of a mess. It turns out there is a Northern giraffe article on English Wikipedia. This article used to be the genus article, which covered the single extant species and a number of extinct species. There is also an article on the Southern giraffe, treated as a proposed species. The other two proposed species in the four species hypothesis are treated as subspecies, Reticulated giraffe and Masai giraffe), which is consistent with the main article saying extant giraffes form a single species. There really should be a decision on what treatment to follow and all the articles brought into line.
Wikidata is even more of a mess. It treats the reticulated giraffe (reticulated giraffe (Q27497311)) as a species and then has the parent taxon as the northern giraffe (giraffe (Q15083). Similarly for the Masai giraffe (Giraffa tippelskirchi (Q27497247))), both of which should be sister to the northern giraffe in the four species hypothesis (i.e G. camelopardalis sensu Northern giraffe). Several older subspecies of the traditional species also have northern giraffe as the parent (e.g. Giraffa camelopardalis cottoni (Q40501009), Giraffa camelopardalis wardi (Q40501095), Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis (Q53818198)). The first two haven't been recognised for some time and the later (Angolan giraffe) would be subspecies of the Southern giraffe in the multispecies hypotheses. I assume this is because they were set up as subspecies of G. camelopardalis (when used for the one species) and the item has been changed to a different concept (G. camelopardalis sensu Northern giraffe in 3/4 species hypothesis). Changing the taxon concept for the item has created numerous error in other Wikidata items. —  Jts1882 | talk  07:39, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
I made some changes at wd pages when I had a stab at it, modifying the output of English, French and German to state the scientific name for 'instance of taxon', and divorced a flagged statement from the genus article. I also pushed the taxonomy that supported seven "taxonomically significant units", allied as four species, into the article due to apparent support of a previously posited circumscription by a 2021 study (there is an interesting note on specimens of early studies that skewed toward a conception of monotypic genus). ~ cygnis insignis 15:21, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
It makes sense to use the scientific name as the label for an item with an instance of "taxon". It will probably get changed, though.
A little hisstory on item giraffe (Q15083). It was created on 6 November 2012 as a basic item on the giraffe, just with interwiki links, and the label was changed to the scientific name on 8 March 2013. This item was clearly about the single species taxon concept. The label was changed back to giraffe on 12 September 2014, but it was still the single species concept. The statements (e.g. IUCN ID and conservation status) and identifiers (e.g. MSW3) all applied to G. camelopardalis as a species containing all extant giraffes. Various subspecies had this as a parent.
Then on 9 September 2016 the label was changed to Northern giraffe, changing the species concept to a narrower one. The statements and identifiers still referred to a broader species and erroneously applied an IUCN conservation status to the redefined species. An edit on 10 September 2016 changed it back and suggested that it would "be better to edit this and make the northern giraffe page separately" but this was ignored and the new species concept prevailed. This was achieved by changing the label and leaving all the statements and identifiers unchanged, as well as parent entries on subspecies in southern Africa that now pointed to the Northern giraffe. Five years later the errors are still there. @Peter coxhead:, this might be a case study to add to your essay as an example of the problem with Wikidata items, taxa and taxon names.
There is so much that needs clearing up, both on Wikidata and here on Wikipedia, it's hard to know how to start without adding to the confusion. There is no sign that the IUCN plan to change their species designations (they plan to complete asssessments for the nine subspecues), although the ASM-MDD now recognise the four species so we do have a secondary source. —  Jts1882 | talk  16:22, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
@Jts1882: indeed it is a good example of the serious problems that result from using Wikidata for data about taxa. I've corrected Wikidata items in the past to make the taxonbar here correct, only for editors over there to mess them up again. It's also a salutory warning for those like Trappist the monk who want to use Wikidata for taxonomy here. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:31, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
Why are you attacking me? Apparently, you have misunderstood what I wanted to create at wikidata. I wanted an isolated, isolated, set of autotaxobox data derived from the taxonomy templates. That isolated data-set was to have no connection at all to extant wikidata taxonomies. The isolated autotaxobox qids and supporting properties would-not-need, would-not-want, to share the properties and data assigned to the wikidata taxonomy qids and vice versa. I was not able to convince the editors at wikidata that many other-language wikis might benefit from centralized, easily editable, easily obtainable autotaxobox data. Further attempts at less ambitious internationalization have been rejected so I am done with this autotaxobox stuff. There is no need to you to attack me for something that I am no-longer pursuing.
Trappist the monk (talk) 17:51, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
@Jts1882: FWIW, ITIS and COL (via ITIS) also reflect 4 species: [4] [5]Gordon P. Hemsley 03:15, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
The summary as seven subspecies was reverted by @LittleJerry:, stating "that's what the chart is for" [6]. ~ cygnis insignis 01:45, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
I've put it back as a cladogram. The table doesn't show the new subspecies proposal. —  Jts1882 | talk  09:01, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
The taxonomy of giraffes is a big mess. I think now is the time to weigh the pros and cons of splitting Giraffa camelopardalis sensu lato. The IUCN Red List recognizes one species. However, all recent molecular genetic studies suggest that there are several species of giraffes. The only problem is that there are different opinions about their number. To my mind, we are better off adopting the ASM Mammal Diversity Database (4 species) point of view, which is supported by at least two recent large studies [7][8]. ASM MDD is a secondary source and maybe in this case we can use it instead of IUCN. HFoxii (talk) 04:47, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
Agreed. While I've generally argued we should wait for the IUCN and ASM-MDD to come to agreement before superseding MSW3, I think the case for four species is strong in the phylogenetic analyses (Fennessy et al, 2016; Coimbra et al, 2021; Petzold et al (2020) [their data supports 3 or 4 species, they just favour three in the admixture analysis]) and we can use the ASM-MDD as secondary source. It will also help clear up the inconsistencies in the current articles and make it easier to reconcile with Wikidata. —  Jts1882 | talk  09:01, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
The 2021 source also aligns the seven taxa to common names, potentially useful in resolving inconsistencies on that matter as well. ~ cygnis insignis 09:24, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
It's actually eight taxa aligining with traditional subspecies and their common names, as Giraffa reticluata doesn't have subspecies. The ninth traditional subspecies, Giraffa rothschildi, is subsumed into Giraffa camelopardalis camelopardalis. The traditional subspecies have held up pretty well, with only the species division being contested. —  Jts1882 | talk  09:38, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
My mistake, "… recognizing four species and seven subspecies, the latter of which should be considered as evolutionary significant units." Coimbra 2021 ~ cygnis insignis 10:14, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
They also emphasize four 'lineages' that diverged 230–370 ka ago in support of the number of species. ~ cygnis insignis 10:24, 9 December 2021 (UTC)


Borrowing the cladogram from Giraffe and repeating some of what Jts1882 and Cygnis insignis have said and done, it sounds like this is the structure that needs to be represented on Wikidata:

I created the entry for the Masai giraffe sensu stricto under the assumption that the existing entry represented the Masai giraffe sensu lato. Note also that the preservation of G. t. thorncrofti as a distinct subspecies is currently for the benefit of conservation efforts, as more research needs to be done on better data to verify that the distinction is real.

Beyond that, Rothschild giraffe (Q2222461) (Rothschild's giraffe) has been determined to be synonymous with G. c. camelopardalis, and so needs to be merged somehow.

In addition, we have the following other items to fit in somehow:

As well as these (which I think are all extinct and possibly out of scope):

Sources: [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]Gordon P. Hemsley 07:58, 22 December 2021 (UTC)

I think the biggest problem is giraffe (Q15083). This was created for the single species concept of G. camelopardalis. Several years ago someone changed the label to Northern giraffe, a different taxon concept and this introduced a number of errors. The IUCN status and various other identifiers, which deal with the single species concept, were applied to the northern giraffe item and several southern subspecies found themselves pointing to the northern giraffe as a parent taxon. The errors are still there (or were a week or so ago when I last checked). At the moment there is no wikidata item to which the IUCN status can be properly applied.
One solution is to restore Q15083 to the single species taxon and create a new item for the northern giraffe. This is what should have been done in the first place, as was done for the Southern giraffe (Q26840221). One problem is that two taxon concepts have the same scientific name (G. camelopardalis sensu lato and stricto) and I'm not sure how to handle this with Wikidata taxon items. A second problem is the sitelinks to giraffe (Q15083) now variously point to articles on the giraffe (single species) and Northern giraffe, so reversing the initial change leaves a lot of untangling to do. Most of the common names seem to still apply to the single species concept, though.
If this is somehow fixed, then the currently recognised subspecies can be linked (via parent taxon) to the appropriate new species and the older now-redundant subspecies left linked to the single species taxon. The extinct species are not a problem as nothing has changed there. —  Jts1882 | talk  08:51, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
@Jts1882: So, if I'm understanding you correctly, you're proposing to leave all obsolete synonyms as their own items and essentially have two hierarchies: the (old) single-species one and the (new) multi-species one? That's certainly one way to go about it, but I'll have to look into what Wikidata best practices are: on the one hand, the items will represent the names, which are distinct, but on the other hand, they represent real things, which are overlapping or the same. This will become particularly problematic when it comes to wikilinks, since any given article can only link to one item. So, for example, if there are different items for Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata and Giraffa reticulata, which one gets the wikilink to Reticulated giraffe? —Gordon P. Hemsley 05:39, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
It turns out that Wikidata does have some guidelines for this, but they don't seem to go far enough towards addressing the situation we have at hand, so I've asked for input from the folks who have more experience. —Gordon P. Hemsley 07:02, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
It seems the original source of confusion is that giraffe (Q15083) was created in 2012 ([16]) as the item for "giraffe" and that idea later evolved to mean "the species Giraffa camelopardalis" instead of "the genus Giraffa", which has caused hundreds of wikilinks to conflate the two ideas. Giraffa (Q862089) was created around the same time ([17]) to explicitly refer to the genus. I'm going to attempt to work backwards from this. —Gordon P. Hemsley 07:35, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
I am trying to make sense of all the Giraffa species in my sandbox (including a bunch of relevant references) and have put together a Wikidata query to pull them all and display their various taxon names and article names, but actually updating Wikidata has been proving to be a challenge, due in part to the lack of sufficient documentation. —Gordon P. Hemsley 18:24, 25 December 2021 (UTC)

Malayan tapir in Acrocodia?Edit

The page for the Malayan tapir lists the species as belonging to the genus Acrocodia based on Groves and Grubb 2011, which many other taxonomic authorities such as ASM have disputed due to classifying species and genera on solely morphological grounds. Indeed, ASM and IUCN do not classify it in Acrocodia; however, ITIS does, surprisingly. Would ITIS be considered the "main" authority (as with primates), and we should leave it in Acrocodia, or should we keep it in Tapirus as does ASM? Geekgecko (talk) 19:09, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

I've taken the view (and argued many times) that if the IUCN and ASM-MDD agree we should follow that. ITIS gets its data from other databases so will lag behind. —  Jts1882 | talk  20:35, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Done. Also agree to follow IUCN Red List + also wrote so many times. – BhagyaMani (talk) 22:30, 15 December 2021 (UTC)


Hey all : some of you may have noticed that I overhauled the aurochs page in the past couple of days. I'd appreciate if someone has time to have a look and reassess it for B-class. Cheerio, BhagyaMani (talk) 16:38, 29 December 2021 (UTC)

Hey @BhagyaMani:, I have reassessed the Aurochs talk page to a B-class. I was willing to do it. If you like, you can go the talk page and see the new class for it. Cheers. --Vaco98 (talk) 21:16, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
SUPER !! And thanks a ton for your swift assessment : that was so much faster than I anticipated. – BhagyaMani (talk) 21:47, 29 December 2021 (UTC)