species/subspecies query

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Wed Nov 15 19:44:22 CST 2000


At 08:07 AM 11/15/00, Ken Kinman wrote:
>As long as there is the potential for genetic exchange between
>populations A & C by way of the intermediate population B, it seems
>preferable to regard it as one species which is in the process of
>speciation.

That's why species and speciation don't get any respect: it's all too easy
to make up stories about them. "Potential for genetic exchange" becomes
more important than actual genetic exchange, and its consequences for the
organisms. "The process of speciation" can be invoked as an explanation
even before there is any actual evidence that speciation is occurring. It's
really not any better than "How the Elephant Got Its Trunk".

IMO there are only two legitimate positions: (1) Species are not actual
units of nature, and so species concepts are hollow rhetoric and speciation
is not a real process; (2) Species are units of nature that originate
through a process or processes that we call speciation, and we can
formulate testable hypotheses that help us to understand both the processes
and their products.


--
Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at csupomona.edu




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