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Discussion in 'General Venomous' started by Microscope Jockey, Nov 15, 2004.

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  1. zeteki

    zeteki New Member

    I'm intrigued by your discussion of what it takes to be a herpetologist. I'd like to play a little game with you all if you're willing to play along. I'll give you some descriptions of folks I know and what they do. I will not mention their level of education. I'd like to know which ones you consider to be herpetologists and which ones you don't. Later, I'll post their level of education and see if your opinion changes. Here goes:

    1. Studies the distribution of a particular salamander species in the local area. Has been published in a professional journal. Teaches, but not about herps.

    2. State herpetologist, working for the DNR. Studies a variety of herp species.

    3. Curator of reptiles at an AZA accredited zoo. Studies frogs in central america, local wild turtle populations, and herps kept at the zoo.

    BTW, when I say "study" I am referring to scientific research.
  2. Ornata

    Ornata Member

    Its hard to say. All 3 sound like they could be herpetologists. However that still doesnt amount to much if they dont have the papers :p:p :D
  3. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    All 3 are classed as herpetologists in my book - I agree that papers do count for something, but what about Mark O'Shea then, since we keep coming back to him.. he has a degree, but his second degree in the field of work he does is honorary,, he has years and years of experience of scientific research surrounding herps, has written many books and papers, among many other achievements. Because he doesn't have a doctorate does that make him a herpetoculturist or an amateur herpetologist??

    Nice "game" Zeteki.. when do we get the answers??? What do we win what do we win????? :D
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I'll go for that too!
  5. Kikai

    Kikai Elite Member

    Good one, Zeteki! I like that. I agree with Merlin and others on this, also. They all sound like a herpetologist to me. I'd also like to point out that before the modern idea of "degrees", people apprenticed in a given field to amass knowledge. The degree is just a piece of paper. I know many people who hold degrees that bus tables, and just as many who hold titled positions that do not have a degree.
  6. zeteki

    zeteki New Member

    The rest of the story...

    Since I'll be away from my computer for the next few days, I'll give you the rest of the information now.

    1. Vicky Meretsky, PhD in Wildlife Ecology
    2. Zack Walker, M.S. in I don't really know what, but studied under Bruce Kingsbury
    3. Anthony Wisnieski, high school diploma

    All 3 engage in scholarly work related to herps and have been published in peer reviewed journals. However, Vicky's *primary* area of study isn't herps, so I don't consider her a herpetologist. But I do consider Zack and Anthony to be herpetologists because that is their primary focus. And, hey, "herpetologist" is in Zack's job title. He's the state herpetologist for Indiana.

    I believe that being a herpetologist is more about what you do than what papers you have. Granted, the way things operate today you usually do need the papers to get a job as a herpetologist, but there are folks who manage to do the work without getting the degree.
  7. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Yeah I agree - your small quiz was interesting zeteki, and pointed out that many various qualifications can lead to various jobs.. I guess the definition changes slightly in everyone's opinion, and noone is right or wrong, so while Ornata and others may only agree that a herpetologist is such if he/she has the relevant papers, others may believe that experience counts just as much. No set definition.. but interesting discussion.
  8. Inphormatika

    Inphormatika Elite Member

    Well Microscope, you certainly got your conversation..... were your purposes served?
  9. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    Just from what I know, I'm told by a few curators that most Zoos hire from hands on knowledge, hint the yearly volunteering. Doug Hotle, who didn't go to college himself, cares less about a degree when it comes to hiring. They want you for what you know and how you do your job. All a degree tells you is that you passed. But of course I'm sure hiring is different among Zoos..
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