species concepts

James Lyons-Weiler weiler at ERS.UNR.EDU
Thu Jul 11 07:22:57 CDT 1996

On Thu, 11 Jul 1996, Robin Leech wrote:
(Some things deleted)
> Granted, we have a reasonably good perception of reality

Perhaps our moving species in and out of reality is an accurate
approximate of reality.  Stable classifications are nice, but we only
happen to exist now; evolution is an unfinished business in all lineages
that will survive the human onslaught.  Some of the extant products of
evolution are twice finished; when a species is gone, we know what a
species was.  Others are finished for know, and other are
in the midst of some process.  The lexicon of Vern Grant and the
recognition species concept of Patterson deal very much with process
ideas of species; Templeton's cohesion species concept is quite flexible
without being ephemeral.  The common evolutionary fate (evolutionary
species concept; a thankworthy contribution to this discussion by John
Trueman) also can deal with most of this.

> Remember not so far back when 95% difference represented 1 standard
> deviation justified our action of creating the distinction, at the
> species level, of naming a new species?  Well, how does that fit into the
> scheme of things when we find that we and chimpanzees are DNA-related at
> the 98+% level?  What shall we do, call it objective, perceptive, or
> interpretive?  Your call!

For the record, according to Chebychev's theorem, 1 sd = 66%; 2 sd = 95%;
3 sd = 99%.  I would call it parastatistical, interpretive, a little
subjective, and entirely phenetic.




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