species/subspecies query

Steve at Steve at
Thu Nov 16 09:41:47 CST 2000


And then there are a few brave/crazy souls who believe "species" don't
really exist in nature at all and that the real unit is closer to the
population.  After all, species aren't panmictic as we often like to pretend
but are actually highly structured with individuals, not collections of
individuals, being the force that drives evolution.  Unfortunately this view
leads to all sorts of problems for both practical and theoretical
applications/discussions and does little to clarify the situation.

As the responses to this question have shown already, the concept of
"species" varies widely and with little consensus.  Darwin didn't offer a
"species" definition other than, essentially, "what a good naturalist, and
the majority of people, say it is."  Totally unacceptable by today's
standard, but arguably still the unspoken rule many taxonomists work to.

Steve Shattuck
CSIRO Entomology
steves at ento.csiro.au




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