Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edi…

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Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition


Wilson & Reeder’s Mammal Species of the World – 3rd edition “A checklist of species is an invaluable tool for both researchers and the interested public.” Thus began the first edition of this work, published by the Association of Systematics Collections (ASC) and Allen Press in 1982. That first edition was prepared by 189 professional mammalogists from 23 countries. It was coordinated by a special Checklist Committee of the American Society of Mammalogists. During the ensuing decade, it became the industry standard for mammalian taxonomy, providing an authoritative reference for nonspecialists and establishing an overall taxonomic hypothesis for testing by systematic mammalogists. The American Society of Mammalogists anticipated the need for revision and established a Standing Checklist Committee under the chairmanship of Karl F. Koopman in June 1982, concurrent with the publication of the first edition. Duane A. Schlitter joined Koopman as co-chair in 1985, and they coordinated the committee’s efforts until 1990. At that time, Don E. Wilson assumed the chairmanship of the committee, with a mandate to expand the committee and produce a second edition of the checklist. With support from the Office of Biodiversity Programs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and with additional funding from the Seidell Fund of the Smithsonian Institution, DeeAnn M. Reeder joined the project in August 1991. At this time, we shifted from the egalitarian approach of multiple authors per section and assigned authorship of the various taxonomic groups to specialists in the field. In 1993, the second edition of Mammal Species of the World was published, and the database from which it was derived became available to the public at: In 2002, the various authors, some of whom were new to the project, began in earnest to update the text for the third edition. This third edition is significantly enhanced by the inclusion of common names, recognition of subspecies, and inclusion of authorities for all synonyms. This additional information, coupled with the virtual explosion in taxonomic literature over the past decade, has resulted in the near doubling in size of the text between the second and third edition. Students of mammalian taxonomy have made significant advances in recent years, especially with the advent and refinement of additional molecular techniques. Beyond the additions due to revisions of known mammals that have occurred over the decades, a significant number of new mammalian species have been described, totaling 171 new species between the first and second edition of Mammal Species of the World (1982-1992) and 260 new species between the second and third edition (1993-2003). Because of the inherent fluidity of mammalian taxonomy, with dramatic changes occurring in relatively short periods of time due to new data and interpretations and new species discoveries, we anticipate continued changes to the arrangement presented here. The checklist will be maintained and updated in a web-based database, where all data will be freely available to the public in a variety of ways and usable formats. We anticipate updating the database at least annually. We welcome your suggestions, comments, and additions, and would particularly appreciate receiving copies of pertinent literature for preparation of future editions. The dynamic, rapidly changing state of mammalian taxonomy, documented by an enormous literature, long hampered the compilation of a detailed, complete world checklist. It was only about a century ago that the first complete appraisal of all mammals of the world was produced by Trouessart (1898-99, 1904-05). A more modern compilation was provided when E. P. Walker and colleagues brought out, in 1964, the first edition of Mammals of the World. This compendium, now in its sixth edition (Nowak, 1999), is arranged systematically (with considerable supplementary natural history data) to the generic level, and later editions list the species in each genus in addition to furnishing an illustration of at least one member of each genus. V. E. Sokolov based his Systematics of Mammals, published in Russian (1973-79), on Walker’s Mammals of the World. He provided a list of species with a brief summary of geographic distribution in each generic account. Corbett and Hill (1980, 1991) listed the species of the world, abbreviated distributions, common names, literature citations to major regional distributional works, and some additional revisionary works where appropriate. McKenna and Bell (1997) provided a complete phylogeny of mammals above the species level, including fossil as well as recent forms. That work provided a starting point for this edition of Mammal Species of the World, and deviations from their arrangement are noted in the comment sections of the accounts that follow. In the short time since the publication of McKenna and Bell (1997), an explosion of literature based on new techniques of molecular systematics has resulted in wholesale changes in our thinking about mammalian phylogeny. Those changes are reflected in the following pages, but this work is primarily a checklist at the species level, and higher-level relationships are used primarily to provide structure rather than to reflect phylogeny. This volume, like previous editions (1982, 1993), will undoubtedly be used by many readers who are not systematic mammalogists. Do not be alarmed or disheartened by the debate over definition of species limits within many groups of mammals. Differences of opinion are aired in the comments sections in order to emphasize areas needing additional taxonomic study. Mammals are no worse off in this regard than other groups of animals, and in fact are probably better known than most, with the possible exception of birds. One recurring suggestion from users of previous editions spurred us to include common names in this edition. The publication of the first complete list of common names of mammal species of the world (Wilson and Cole, 2000) made this possible. Contributors to this edition used those names as a starting point, but were urged to adopt alternatives if there were compelling reasons to do so. As a result, this volume can be viewed as a second edition of Wilson and Cole (2000).

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DeeAnn Reeder

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National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

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Mar 7, 2011

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