Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id DAA02021 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Wed, 21 Nov 2001 03:29:29 GMT Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" From: "Philip A.E. Jonkers" <email@example.com> Organization: UC Berkeley To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Taxonomy and speciation Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 18:28:48 -0800 X-Mailer: KMail [version 1.2] References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3102A6D13B@inchna.stir.ac.uk> In-Reply-To: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3102A6D13B@inchna.stir.ac.uk> Message-Id: <email@example.com> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough. Let me rephrase what
I'm trying to state with my hypothesis.
Naming related groups with a species name has obvious word-economic benefits.
However, since organisms evolve, new types derive from existing parent
forms. When do we say a new species has emerged? When it differs sufficiently
from its parents form? How do we decide the proper moment of speciation?
I believe the root of all confusion is due to our taxonous tradition applied
to the realm of biology originally in a religious setting. If, like religions
like us to believe, organisms remain fixed it is obviously very useful to
label a related group of organisms. Naming things is a mental thing.
Organisms evolve however, names stay fixed on the other hand.
To really recognize evolution names should track evolving organisms
as well. This is unpractical of course, and we resort to labeling species
on hindsight, when evolution has done its job sufficiently well to yield
a well-enough separated group of new organisms. However, it is
impossible to give an accurate estimation when the act of speciation
actually took place, the criteria are too ill-defined. Speciation doesn't
occur but in the heads of the name-givers. Speciation regarded as something
that occurs gradually over time is silly and counter-productive.
I do not deny that organisms evolve of course.
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