factors influencing population of herpetologists

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factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:37 am

The more developed country is the more herpetologists it has. Do you agree with this hypothesis? Why is it so? Maybe an exception of this trend would be Japan which aims at practical things (technology) in universities.
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:19 am

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:The more developed country is the more herpetologists it has. Do you agree with this hypothesis? Why is it so? Maybe an exception of this trend would be Japan which aims at practical things (technology) in universities.


Crucial factor is the presence of herps: you will encounter difficulties in finding herpetologists among the esquimeses.
Then we must distinguish what you mean with the word herpetologist.
1) People who are fond of herps, but do different jobs, as a big part of us?
2) People who make researches on herps, at the University or with other institutions?
3) People who study herps independently from institutions and make maybe also publications?
4) People who work with herps, maybe in a reptilarium or catch herps as job, but do not make any research or study?

1) People who are fond of herps are found in any part of the world where herps live. Except in the extremely poor Countries where the main and only problem is to survive.

2) People who study herps in the University or with some institution are rare in every Country and I think they do not exist in the extremely poor regions of our world.

3) People who make independent researches or publications are present in many Countries, but are restricted to the people who do not have economical problems. Otherwise this type of activity would be impossible or very difficult.

4) People who work with herps in herps zoos or who catch herps as job are mainly limited to tropical and subtropical Countries, with the common exceptions of the herps zoos and shows that we can also find in our Countries.
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Ilian Velikov » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:27 am

Ruggero, you are over-complicating things ;) Michal's question is more general and the answer is very simple but we need to generalize and replace "herpetologists" with "scientists" rather than split herpetologists into 100 categories. That more developed countries have more scientists than underdeveloped ones has been true at any point in history and the reason for this is that to engage your mind in such deep thought and activities it needs to be freed from thoughts about how to meet the basic needs of your survival. If you have to work hard just to feed yourself, or if there's poverty, or some restricting political regime you would not be thinking (or at least less people would be) about the courtship behavior of salamanders and you wouldn't go out "wasting" your time catching frogs to compare the sizes of their metatarsal tubercles (to eat them maybe would make more sense). Also you would not be able to afford to go on holidays every two months and explore stuff. So if you look back through history most scientists and scientific break-troughs happened in wealthy countries and they were usually done by rather wealthy people that could afford not to work (remember this was not actually a job back in the day). Darwin had a huge mention (I've been in it) full of servants that were doing everything for him and his family so he could sit all day and just think, or spend his time watching worms or whatever the hell he wanted. You can't expect that at the same time in Cambodia(just an example) there would have been people doing the same. So this tradition has built on through history until today and it is logical that these wealthy countries continue to have more scientists (herpetologists and all) and science as a whole is a bigger part of their culture than in less wealthy countries. They simply started doing it much earlier.
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:16 pm

I suggest now to Michal another interesting 3d: "Factors influencing population of herpetologists to write on fieldherping.eu" :lol: :lol: :lol:

P.s. Michal, I've read the book of Stenger about science and religion: very well written and I thank you for the suggestion. 8-)
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:14 pm

That more developed countries have more scientists than underdeveloped ones has been true at any point in history and the reason for this is that to engage your mind in such deep thought and activities it needs to be freed from thoughts about how to meet the basic needs of your survival.

As an example, that's why we know so much about Vipera berus and so little about Vipera ammodytes.
The former just happens to inhabit Germany, England, and alike... The latter doesn't.
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Thor Hakonsen » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:15 pm

Crucial factor is the presence of herps: you will encounter difficulties in finding herpetologists among the esquimeses.


I agree with this, and will add one more factor : herpetoculture

Norway, who has very few herps, and has had no legal keeping for herps since 1976 has just a handfull of educated herpetologists, and rather few "hobby fieldherpers". But it is changing slowly..

And I see Norway as a rather developed :)
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:25 pm

Thor Hakonsen wrote:And I see Norway as a rather developed :)

Yes it certainly is, nowadays... thanks to oil and natural gas. But look at it half a century ago... no to mention
a century ago...
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Herman Bronsgeest » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:20 pm

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:The more developed country is the more herpetologists it has. Do you agree with this hypothesis? Why is it so? Maybe an exception of this trend would be Japan which aims at practical things (technology) in universities.


Inequality may actually be more significant as a limiting factor, than (under) development.

For instance, in the Netherlands we have seen a major increase of inequality since the mid-eighties. As tax revenues went down the drain, and as national debt went through the roof, government has been cutting back on public services ever since, science and (higher) education merely being two out of... everything. Anything we once held dearly. So now that they've finally replaced the entire student's allowance by a loan, aspirant students from average income families need to consider employability and income prospects more than ever before.

So, would finding a job as a herpetologist (or generally a biologist, for that matter) be a reasonable enough possibility? And if so, would one make enough money to repay the loan, and still have enough for a good life with a house and kids and everything?

Not in the Netherlands.
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Ilian Velikov » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:06 pm

Thor's and Herman's points while certainly valid are not the main reasons I think. Lower number of species could play some role but is not decisive. I presume Norway has fewer species of insects than let's say Nicaragua but I'm sure it has more entomologists. And what Herman describes is a rather recent situation in historical terms. Remember at the time of Linneaus and Darwin "biologist" let alone "herpetologist" was not a job and definitely not something that was subsidised by schools or institutions. The whole culture of exploring the world and studying living things was born in the wealthy European countries for the simple reason they were wealthy. And ever since, kids born there read books and heard stories of great explorers and inventors from their town or country and were inspired (and had the financial oportunity and peace of mind) to do the same. On the Balkans as kids we read books and heard stories of great revolutionists that fought against 500 years of Ottoman oppresion and than of great Russian leaders or other communist propaganda bullshit, at which time there was only sugar, salt, bread and if you are lucky one kind of sausage in the shops. We were not allowed to watch western films or listen to western music or read western books...not exactly an environment that sprouts interest in science or philosophy. Nowadays, with increasingly fast ways of transfering information and basically unlimited access to all the information in the world things are slowly starting to change but under-developed countries have a lot of catching up to do.
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Re: factors influencing population of herpetologists

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:30 pm

No need to quote Ilian, let me just say that I fully subscribe all that he wrote in the previous post.
One should not forget/ignore history, painful as it is.
Regarding this, I strongly hope Thor didn't find my comment offensive in any way. A century ago,
Norway was a poor country, a European "backwater" far in the North, with people struggling for
survival... feeding mainly on fish... nothing to stimulate either herpetology or any endeavour like
that. At the same time, Germany was the leading European country in science and technology,
yes, it was. The leading international scientific journals of that time were published in German,
not English. (It's Hitler who eventually put an end to that, may he burn in hell...)
So, I don't believe in anything like "herpetoculture". Poor people kill any snake they encounter,
while "rich" people can afford not to.
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