farewell to species, long live the specimens
algologia at TELIA.COM
Wed Feb 2 02:56:43 CST 2000
Species have been in our minds for centuries, but these days as taxonomists
vanish it is only natural that their ideas have that fate.
On the other hand, specimens are real. We have been dealing with them for
millenia, and indeed this is what we leave behind (we call it herbarium).
And all was well until someone recommended that we should generalize to the
extent possibility (we call it parsimony) and so the species problem was
That species had to go with the advent of molecules was anticipated. Have
you ever try understand a cladogram of a widespread species ? or should we
give names to all these specimens ? How many specimens make a species ? I
thought I could answer that looking at some natural mutants, that everyone
would separate into a distinct species (if not a genus), but then these
were variants or were they young species ? (some surely escaped and I hope
they have made).
All is not bed with molecules, our best tool solving problems is usually
advertised, and indeed this might give life to some nearly abandoned living
forms (we call it rasism among humans). Have you ever try understand how is
it possible 250 years after Linnaeus that some 'plant' minds still classify
similarly some of the most diverse groups ?
I think algology will have feature saying farewell to species.
ALGOLOGIA, Anasvagen 54A, SE-416 69, Goteborg, Sweden
E.mail: algologia at telia.com Tel.: 46-31-199718
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