Mayr on "What is a Species"

Fet, Victor fet at MARSHALL.EDU
Thu Apr 22 19:13:02 CDT 2004

This paper is available in full text at

Victor Fet
Department of Biological Sciences
Marshall University,
Huntington, WV 25755-2510 USA
phone (304) 696-3116, fax (304) 696-3243

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On
Behalf Of Ken Kinman
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 6:57 PM
Subject: [TAXACOM] Mayr on "What is a Species"

Dear All,
      For those who have not read it yet, a paper by Ernst Mayr, 1996
(entitled "What is a Species, and What is Not?") might be of interest.
Philosophy of Science, 63:262-277.  Here is the abstract:

    I analyze a number of widespread misconceptions concerning species.
The species category, defined by a concept, denotes the rank of a
species taxon in the Linnaean hierarchy.  Biological species are
reproducing isolated from each other, which protects the integrity of
their genotypes.  Degree of morphological difference is not an
appropriate species definition.  Unequal rates of evolution of different
characters and lack of information on the mating potential of isolated
populations are the major difficulties in the demarcation of species

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