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Retraction fun: Fellow didn’t seem to know much about cats


Retraction Watch offers an excerpt from Craig Pittman’s Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther which details “serious problems” with “Dr. Panther”’s research into the Florida panther’s behaviour. The Florida panther is a type of cougar (North American mountain lion).

In 2003, the SRT released a report containing its verdict. As you might guess, it ripped apart Maehr’s work, piece by piece, and yes, they called him out by name. They didn’t label him a fraud, but they made it clear that Dr. Panther had done some pretty shady things.

Because they were scientists, they didn’t scream out their find-ings in impassioned prose. They were cool and calm—but there was no mistaking what they were saying.

“The conclusions that panthers prefer large forest patches and are reluctant to travel from forests are unreliable because the analyses excluded (without mention or rationale) a large fraction of the available data, ignored errors inherent in telemetry data, and did not rigorously compare used habitats to habitats avail-able to the radio-tagged panthers,” they wrote in their final re-port. “The conclusion that Everglades National Park and most of Big Cypress National Preserve are poor habitat for panthers is not scientifically supported.”

Craig Pittman, “A ‘Cat Tale’: A story of how flawed science formed the basis of policy” at Retraction Watch

One paper is now much disputed. One panther seems to have made an exception for patios.


Generally, never trust anything a cat tells you about how it hunts. That’s proprietary information and a lot depends on it. The cat is rarely trustworthy anyhow.

You just have to hope he likes you.

Sooner her than me. Congratulations, News. Very funny article - and so true. Never trust a cat ! Axel

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