Real species and ideology

John Grehan jgrehan at TPBMAIL.NET
Sun Apr 18 11:49:24 CDT 2004


At 11:06 PM 4/15/04 -0500, Ken Kinman wrote:
>Dear All,
>       When I look out the window at a robin, there is no doubt in my mind
> that it is a real species, and that this robin is going to mate with
> another robin.  Of course, many other cases aren't so clear cut.  When
> speciation has not progressed to such a clear cut point (and more
> intermediate forms are still extant), it can get really tricky.

I'll add to the 'tricky' nature of this question with respect to the New
Zealand black robin (I've posted on this here any there a long time back,
so apologies to those with long memories). To enhance the reproductive
output of this endangered species, eggs were removed from black robin nests
(so they would then lay more eggs) and the eggs fostered with Chatham
Island tits. One of these fostered black robins decided it was a Chatham
Island tit and mated with one. The result was a hybrid that was
subsequently discovered. This hybrid was named Tobin, photographed live
(nice close up portrait), and then shot. It was necessary to get details of
this 'science' under the Official Information Act. This is where philosophy
(of species reality) and the realpolitics of conservation meet. Might be
good to have species theorists discuss species concepts with respect to the
geopolitical world of species management rather than the idealist word of
theory (which is not to say that theorists have not yet done this).

John Grehan




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