Real species

Ron at Ron at
Fri Apr 16 20:14:21 CDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Mesibov
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2004 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: Real species

Ken Kinman wrote:

"When I look out the window at a robin, there is no doubt in my mind that it
a real species, and that this robin is going to mate with another robin."

A lot is happening in Ken's mind here, but it's good he's given us a
example. We see an individual robin and accept that it's real (and a
realistically separable bit of the continuum of existence) . If we watch
enough we'll see it mate with another robin. The realities we're dealing
are individuals and their breeding networks. Beyond those realities we're
hypothesising. We do it energetically and fervently, but we're still just


I can't take it any longer --- I barely have the time to read these posts
let alone get into the middle of this discussion.   When looking for
reality, the living observable individual is IT - it stands to reason then,
that the farther one moves spatially (tectonic drift), temporally (50
million years), and quantitatively (all Quercus) the more subjective the
what-really-is-this will become.   Thus, subspecies are the most real
organic groups in nature - not species and surely not genera.  There is also
a bell curve to biological / evolutional "reality" in time and space.   The
middle is the least clear as it relates to both ends.  Each end only related
to its nearest neighbor.

I define a subspecies as:  Any regional population of a species that has
evolved into a unique reproductively stable component of that species.
Unfortunately re this thread,  I use the word species.  So forget that
word - it is a detractor in this case.

I see several issues not the least of which is if one is looking for past
phylogenetic connectivity or present - even future - evolutional states.
Perhaps this is an intrinsic problem of systematics vs. taxonomy.   Taxonomy
being more focused on what is now in hand - reality - this is an X.   While
the systematic concern is ancestry - linkage - boundaries.  ?????   Even
antireality can't deny the Robbin in the front yard.  Or the local nesting
pair of Cardinals.

NO species are not real - which is why there are 20 some "concepts" of what
makes one such.  The parameteres of time and space (as was mentioned with
circular speciation ) being _motion_ make it impossible.  We know we are
talking about millions of years and when did what become what and change to
what.   So the only dogmatic reality I see is  - This IS a robbin.   This
local or regional distinct group of X taxon IS  Aus wus gus.   My proof in
my subspecies argument is simply that in Aus wus gus there may be many
changes but ole' gus will still be the same - making it the most real
zoological taxon as it is the next smallest measurable denominator about the
individual specimen.

*Aus wus gus  (gus was described and put on the taxonomic, systematic, and
regional maps)
*Aus gus  (_someone_ considered it a full species_
*Bus wus gus  (_somebody_  put it in another geuus)
*Cusae  gusae  (Code forced gender change)
*Gus gus gus  (ultimate human recognition :-)  But doesn't effect (and thus
not change) one single thing of the living organism and its reality.

You get the picture.  Looks like reality to me.  Of course the problem from
my view is that subspecies have been largely out of vogue for some time -
not just too bad - but science's loss.   Hummm... too many more points and
thoughts.  I got a lot more but have to split.

Ron Gatrelle

PS  I have often said... Species are not real, only subspecies are.  Why?
Every species is but some other things (extinct or future) subspecies.  Just
give it enough time and space.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list