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GA Review[edit]

Article (edit | history) · Article talk (edit | history) · Watch

Reviewer: Shoebox2 (talk · contribs) 17:09, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Hello! This is to introduce myself as the GA reviewer for this article. I'll try to have the point-by-point review up within a few days. Shoebox2 talk 17:09, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Preliminary review[edit]

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

Article is as complete and detailed as befits the importance of the subject, images are well-chosen, and references seem OK. However there are numerous issues with prose quality and the way information is organised that must be addressed. I'll provide a brief outline of any issues within this template, to be followed by more specific examples/recommendations below. Shoebox2 talk 15:22, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose is "clear and concise", without copyvios, or spelling and grammar errors:
    As noted, this is very much the article's Achilles heel. Not necessarily fatal, but definitely in need of urgent and extensive attention. At the moment, it reads as though it was nominated after all the information had been dumped in from various sources but before any follow-up, unifying polish was given to the prose. There's no consistent flow to the reading, and the individual phrasing tends to be awkward -- at some points it's actively difficult to understand what the author is getting at. There are also more than a few grammatical/word choice errors. I'll post more detailed recs below.
    Please notify the errors, I'll try my best to resolve this issue. Sainsf <^>Talk all words 11:04, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Will do. Shoebox2 talk 13:55, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
  1. B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
    Lead is one of the more well-put-together parts of the article, all appropriate info included. Layout broadly conforms to acceptable standard for zoology articles, however it would seem more sensible to place the species distribution and habitat before the more specific descriptions of their behaviour within it. Article's general tone is appropriately dispassionate, in the style of a textbook, and free of peacockery; standards for 'fiction' are obviously n/a. Lists are not used and given the tight focus on only two sub-species don't appear to be necessary.
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. Has an appropriate reference section:
    Will be checking this in more detail as the review progresses, but at a glance plus a couple spot-checks everything seems to be in order.
    B. Citation to reliable sources where necessary:
    Am willing to AGF here to an extent, insofar as an effort clearly has been made to include a decent cross-section of the available research. However am a bit concerned that so many of the sources are older than 5-10 years. Before I sign off on this point would particularly like to hear the author's rationale for relying so heavily on three sources, one of which is a general 'guide to African mammals' textbook that while highly-regarded apparently hasn't been substantially revised since 1991, and another a very brief online fact sheet that hasn't been updated since 2004.
    The Huffman citation may be removed at places (though I have to rely on it at places). I assume you mean the R D Estes book (2004) and Mammals of Africa (2013) as the other two sources. The latter is fairly recent. As to the former, I don't know of any new editions of the book and don't have access to them. This book provides quality info about the animal and the author too is quite renown. In other antelope articles I have expanded, I have made extensive use of this book. I believe this citation should remain here. Sainsf <^>Talk all words 11:04, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Certainly they should stay. My concern is more that you're relying on them so heavily, esp. the Huffman page. However, given that these do appear to be highly-regarded standard texts, and the non-controversial nature of the article subject--also, as noted, the clear-good faith effort to include at least a decent cross-section of the other available research--I'll let it go for GA. But if the intent is to progress the article to FA, I'd mark this as an area for further improvement. Shoebox2 talk 13:55, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
  1. C. No original research:
    No agenda visible here save the scientific.
  2. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    Seems basically complete and comprehensive.
    B. Focused:
    Again, it's hard to imagine anything else any reader would want to know about impalas. I have this nagging feeling that mention should be made somewhere of the iconic Chevrolet Impala automobile, which name was obviously intended to tie into the animal's speed, grace and maneuverability, but it's not strictly needed for GA.
  3. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
    Well done, no evidence of bias.
  4. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
    Article in its nominated form appears to have one main editor, the nominator. Talkpage reveals one fairly minor unresolved issue (just for the record, I agree that it's probably not necessary that the Black-Faced Impala have its own page) but otherwise no sign of conflict.
  5. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content:
    A spot-check reveals that all is well here, and in fact a few of the images are Featured.
    B. Images are provided if possible and are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions:
    One of the article's great strengths, several well-chosen images that substantially contribute to understanding of the subject.
  6. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    Will leave this open for now, pending nominator response to issues raised above. Will try and have my list of detailed fixes up within the next day or so.

Thanks for taking up the review. I will try my best to address all the issues. Please reply soon. Sainsf <^>Talk all words 11:05, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks in turn for the swift and helpful response. Real-life obligations are complicating things a bit at the moment, but will try and have the details up for you if not tonight (EST) then first thing tomorrow morning. Shoebox2 talk 13:55, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Detailed review[edit]

In order to keep this reasonably short and non-nitpicky, I've done some work on the article myself to fix the most obvious prose and grammatical/word choice errors (most notably cutting down on repeated usage of 'the impala'--when your article is only about the one species, you can safely rely on pronouns in most cases). My comments below will mostly be concerned with factual slips and clarifications.


  • "Males stand up to approximately..." Throughout the article there are confusingly interchangeable references to 'males' and 'bulls'. Pls standardise (and provide appropriate female version if needed).
  • Replaced bulls with males everywhere.
  • Given that the two subspecies differ 'significantly' in size, clarification is needed whether these general measurements (and the corresponding ones below) refer to the entire species or only one subspecies. I'd suggest the size difference deserves a mention here as well.
  • Sources don't mention exactly how big either subspecies is. For example, for the bohor reedbuck, which has 5 subspecies, sources provide just the general measurements. The only differences mentioned are about a few features like the tail. So these are all general measurements.
Really? Seems oddly imprecise. For the moment this is OK, although I've added 'for the species as a whole' to the description below just to make myself feel better. :) Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

  • "It usually switches between grazing and browsing depending on the season and habitat." --I'd drop 'usually' (here and where it later reoccurs in the article); unless I'm missing something it has no choice but to switch under those circumstances.
  • Done.
  • "They are fast runners and are known for their leaping ability, reaching heights up to 3 m (9.8 ft)." --I've removed the references here and elsewhere to 'giant' leaps; that's inappropriately informal and hence too vague. However I am agreed that this leaping business is pretty impressive, and should be called out as such. Is their any more precise way to indicate just how impressive? Perhaps 'can leap up to three times their height?'
  • I agree that great isn't suitable, but height also varies among animals. The reader might be confused. Perhaps we can say "unique abilty to leap" or "unique leaps"- after all, that is what all sources seem to be implying.
Agreed. If you feel you've got the sources to indicate that this is a uniquely impressive ability, then I'd go with that. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "A single calf is usually born after a gestational period of about six to seven months. . The calf..." --The reference in the article proper is to the 'fawn', which a quick Google suggests to me is the correct term. Pls confirm and correct where needed.
  • Done.
  • The species' introduction to Gabon is mentioned twice in the same paragraph, pls rewrite to remove one mention.
  • Done.

Etymology and taxonomy:

  • "Up to six subspecies have been described, although only two are usually distinguished..." --Need clarification here as to the discrepancy between 'described' and 'distinguished'. And why were the other four 'described' subspecies dropped?
  • Replaced distinguished with recognised, which seems better here. The source does not give reasons as to why the four were dropped, so I can't risk adding any unsourced info.
Agreed, the new wording is fine. If the plan is to continue progressing the article to FA status, though, I'd mark this as definitely in need of further investigation. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Both subspecies show much genetic differentiation, and no hybrids are known." -- I've shortened this a bit for readability, but that doesn't explain why later on in the article it's claimed that inter-subspecies hybridization is in fact considered a significant threat to the black-faced impala's existence. Pls confirm and correct where needed.
  • Given no hybrids are known and nor are any expected, I think there is no harm in eliminating the source and the fact that hybridisation is a threat. I guess here a "chance" hybridisation has been considered, but I don't think we must add it before it has happened. So I have removed the claim.

Physical description:

  • "The impala has an average lifespan of about 15 years in the wild,[12] and nearly 17 years in captivity." --Am wondering if this sentence doesn't really belong under 'Ecology and behaviour?'
  • I have added it under that section, in the first para now.
  • "The white rings around the eyes and the light chin and muzzle are distinct features..." -- Distinct how? Again, I don't have your sources at hand, but I can recall several nature documentaries I've seen that described the black stripes as the really visually distinctive bits. Pls confirm and clarify as needed.
  • Rewrote the sentence. How is it?
I've tweaked the rewrite just a bit to smooth it out, but otherwise, much better. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Sebaceous glands are concentrated on the forehead..." --Needs a quick explanation of what these are and why they're significant enough to be mentioned.
  • I think linking "sebaceous glands" is enough, and there is no need of defining them here. I thought some facts about glands ought to be mentioned, as many sources add a bit about them while describing physical features. If you think they are too insignificant they ma be removed, but I feel they ought to be mentioned.
I understand, and as it's not strictly a GA requirement, will let it go. However, you might also keep in mind that it's not only a question of what the sources say, but gauging the relative importance of what they say, and further, how to present the material in context to Wikipedia readers. Who, let's face it, are by and large going to need some context in a scientifically-based article. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Males grow 45–92 cm (18–36 in)-long slender, lyre-shaped horns..." --I've removed the original further reference to 'S-shaped' here, as 'lyre-shaped' seems to be much more accurate according to the photos. Is there any reason why both (apparently contradictory) terms were used?
  • Thanks for the correction, I had made a mistake there. Will edit carefully in future.
  • "There are generally six to twelve bouts of allogrooming." -- Over what time-span? In one grooming session, in a day, in a year, over the course of an animal's life? And what constitutes a 'bout'?
  • Rewrote.
  • "The bulbourethral glands are heavier and testosterone levels are nearly double in territorial males in comparison to bachelors." --The "bulbourethral gland" and its importance need a quick explanation -- and why is this sentence about hormone levels stuck apparently randomly at the end of a paragraph about grooming? Perhaps the glandular/hormonal info generally could be spun off into its own short paragrsph, related (I'm assuming) to breeding-season changes?
  • As I mentioned above, I consider it irrelevant to talk of the glands here (also, I can not find any info regarding their importance for the impala) - a link seems enough. I am not sure whether these are seasonal changes, so I suggest we could combine the info about the scent, sebaceous, bulbourethral glands (all glands mentioned) into a separate para under Physical description.
As discussed above, I'm willing to let the explanation go for now. As a compromise for GA purposes--and with your permission of course--I've placed the info re: the bulbourethral gland and testosterone levels immediately after the sentences already dealing with male glandular changes. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Of the subspecies, the black-faced is significantly larger..." How much larger, exactly, is 'significantly'? Would it perhaps be more convenient to indicate the difference in the first paragraph, where the detailed measurements are given?
  • As I said sources don't mention exactly how much larger, could we remove "significantly"? Sounds a bit like an overstatement.
I'll leave that up to you. There is a source for the claim, and I do think it's helpful info as-is (as any info distinguishing the two subspecies must be) -- it's just that it would be even more helpful in the context of actual measurements. Not to keep harping on it, but it's really surprising to me that that info's not provided somewhere in the literature. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "the tail is almost 30% longer and bushier..." --A bit nitpicky, but did they really determine that the tail was 30% bushier?
  • 30% refers to the length. Rewrote.

Ecology and behaviour:

  • Any particular reason why the British spelling of 'behavior' is used here?
  • BE has been used throughout the article. There had been a discussion on this in the Giant eland FAC, and it was decided that as mot countries in the range of the animal use BE, the article should be in BE as well. Though impala does not exist or is native to all those countries as the giant eland, I feel BE should be used here.
OK, that makes good sense. Thanks. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "They use various kinds of unique visual, olfactory and auditory communication - most notably "empty-kicking", "tongue-flashing"..." --Those last two definitely need some further explanation, as there's no way for the reader to form a mental image from only the phrases. (In fact, while I understand and support the roaring being explained in detail, I can about guarantee your readers will be much more excited to hear about the tongue-flashing.)
  • Not quite sure what it means (though diagrams in the source may be explaining it). Removed the examples.
OK, no worries. I'd add those definitions to the to-do list, but that may just be me. Incidentally, it's currently covered to the extent needed for GA, but it occurred to me in the course of thinking about this that the herd response to predation might be another area for profitable further development -- do they have specific warning signals etc (cf. the white-tailed deer's tail-flashing)? Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Three distinct social groups are formed in the wet season..." --In the lead, the impression is given that these social groups are permanent, pls clarify one or the other. If this version is correct, then why 'the wet season' particularly?
  • Made consistent. Sorry, could find no clear reason for that.
Not a problem -- it's probably related to the breeding cycle, but without a ref that gets into OR. Given the amount of coverage of African ecology in recent years I think it's safe to assume the reader can infer that the 'wet season' acts as a spur to the life cycle of the impala in the same way it does for most African species. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "These continually break up into smaller herds and reunite, and often desert their territories." --There was great confusion in the original version of this paragraph surrounding the unavoidable multiple references to 'territory' (and the constant switching between 'males' and 'bulls' doesn't help, either). Specifically, it was not at all clear who establishes and maintains the territories, nor what they do with them and when. I've done some rewriting based on what I think is probably going on, but am still by no means certain. Pls review and clarify where needed.
  • Done. Now the article follows an order describing territorial males, then bachelor males and finally female herds.
  • "They maintain individual distances of 2.5–3 m (8.2–9.8 ft)." --It's not clear what 'individual' means in this context. Do the individual animals in a herd maintain that distance from each other, or do individual herds maintain that distance from other herds? Pls clarify.
  • Done.
  • "Young and old males may interact preferentially..." I don't think 'preferentially' (ie. deliberately giving each other special attention) is the word you want here, but can't figure out what the actual word would be.
  • Removed the word, which appears a bit redundant here.
  • "While the home ranges are heavily fortified in the wet season, but clans often overlap in the dry season." --This sentence makes no sense whatsoever as written, pls clarify. Also, should the mention of wet -vs- dry seasons be moved to the top of the discussion of social structure, to provide context for the specific behaviours within each?
  • Rewrote. Done.
  • "As it can utilize both monocots and dicots..." --These terms (and the later mention of 'forbs') need explanation. Remember that your Wikipedia readership is much less likely to be made up of scientists than laypeople looking for an accessible overview of the subject; take care to provide context for unusually specific scientific terms.
  • I agree, but I don't see how I can explain these terms. In earlier discussions with other editors, I have always found that it is best to link terms which can not be explained by you or are not really relevant to the subject. Thus I have linked those.
OK, having checked into the terms a bit further I see your difficulty re: concise explanations, and agree that links are the best bet (although it probably wouldn't hurt to give further specific examples of plants in each category that the impala utilize heavily). I've just done a bit of work on the existing sentence here to make sure it all makes sense to the reader. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "The animals assemble nearer to one another (females bunch closer), and begin ruminating." --Not sure how the information in parenthesis fits into this sentence as a whole? As it stands you seem to be saying that all the impala move closer together, while females... move closer together? (Also 'bunch' is another overly-informal, vague term, pls specify.) I'd also suggest substituting 'ruminating' with the more accessible term 'chewing the cud' or similar.
  • Removed the fact in parenthesis. Reworded.
  • "The shorter duration of the days in March lead to increased gonadal growth and hormone production in the males, resulting in greater aggressiveness and territoriality in them..." --Given you're describing a progression from shorter to longer days, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense as written--if the relative shortness of the days are the trigger, why doesn't all this happen in, say, mid-December? Pls confirm and clarify.
  • The source mentions just this fact, but doesn't answer your argument. Maybe the increase in temperature has something to do with this, but I have no source to rely on.
OK, with your permission I've removed the reference to the shorter days altogether for now. If it is re-added I'd strongly suggest it be with further explanation. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Distribution and habitat:

  • As noted in the preliminary review, I'd be strongly inclined to move this section above 'Ecology and behaviour', to provide the reader a more logical progression from general overview to the specific details within it.
  • Done.
  • As per notes re: clarifying scientific terminology above, pls provide a quick explanation of 'ecotone' (also 'montane', later).
  • Not sure what ecotone means in this case, so removed. Simplified montane. But please note that I don't consider explaining all terms elsewhere, I consider a link as enough.
Right, and as mentioned elsewhere I'm OK with this for now. Thanks for simplifying, however. :) Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "The common impala has been widely introduced in southern Africa, and also in two protected areas of Gabon." --Why? It's clearly not a question of conservation.
  • Removed the latter part, but let southern Africa remain, as it is where most of the range of the subspecies lies.
OK, but readers still might be interested to learn why it's being introduced into new areas -- I know I would be. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "Black-faced impala, who live in semi-arid environments, also select the interface between wooded savannas and open grassy wetlands." --Not sure what 'also' refers to here. And 'interface' is another one of those words I don't think is the right word but can't figure out what the right word would be.
  • Removed 'also'. The sentence means the impala is found where those savannas and wetlands meet, but I can't get how to restate it.
Hmmm... me neither, honestly. It does get the point across albeit awkwardly, so am willing to leave it on the to-do list for now. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Threats and Conservation:

  • "Where their ranges overlap, there is a risk of hybridisation between the two subspecies, and this is regarded as a potential threat to the maintenance of the species." --Again, earlier in the article it was specifically stated that the two subspecies don't interbreed. Pls clarify.
  • Done.

That's the lot for now. Will allow a few days for responses. With the above addressed I'm confident this article will have no problem passing as a GA. Shoebox2 talk 21:02, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Addressed all. Thanks for pointing out the errors - that simplifies my work and improves my editing! Sainsf <^>Talk all words 09:53, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
No worries! I'd like to warmly commend and thank you in turn for being so willing to work with me for the improvement of the article. My ideal is always to ensure a stronger article -- as I believe this one now is. Pending either your acceptance of the few further changes I've made, or changes you'd rather make, I'll be more than pleased to pass it. Shoebox2 talk 23:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
This must be the first GAN with so many comments fixed up in a day or two! Obviously, it is your amiability that we could manage this (perhaps you have seen the treat I left for you on your talkpage for this :) ) I see you have sorted out most issues (even the work I had to do as the nominator!); as to your curiosity about introduction of the impala, it must be to expand its range (artificially of course) and increase populations. And I feel that for readers interested in fauna articles here, the term "introduced" will not be so hard to understand. On your request, I managed to add a few points about the precautionary measures taken by the impala. Anyway, I must thank you for your terrific swiftness in lining up all comments about such a long and comprehensive article (even though as you say you have real-life troubles)! Editors usually take ages for the same. Thanks for rewarding my efforts! Sainsf <^>Talk all words 08:01, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
No worries! They're impressive efforts, and I'm very happy indeed to be able to help. Thank you in turn not only for the award--that's really appreciated--but for your own amiability in being willing to work with a non-expert reviewer. One of the most rewarding aspects of reviewing GA articles, I'm finding, is the chance to learn more about a subject in company of a knowledgeable editor. :) I'll pass the article now and wish you well in your continued efforts. Shoebox2 talk 15:51, 27 March 2014 (UTC)