FW: Islands, Science and Creationism

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Tue Apr 16 11:22:06 CDT 2002

Curtis Clark wrote:

Just as organisms in their beings carry traces of their entire evolutionary

> history, in their locations they carry traces of their entire geographic
> history.

I agree with the first part of this statement, but can't buy in to the second
part (i.e.,
an organism's current location carries traces of its entire geographic history).
Knowing that species X is endemic to cedar glades in middle Tennessee tells us
nothing about it geographic history.  Is it a relatively recent evolutionary
novelty that had its origin there, is it a relictual population of a once more
widely dispersed taxon, or is it the result of a long-ago vicariance event?  All
are equally likely propositions.  Not until we know something about the taxonomic
relationships and hypothesized evolutionary history of the species can we begin
to construct biogeographic scenarios to explain why it is found there and nowhere

Richard J. Jensen              TEL: 219-284-4674
Department of Biology      FAX: 219-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         E-mail: rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Notre Dame, IN  46556     http://www.saintmarys.edu/~rjensen

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