Mayr on "What is a Species"

Ron at Ron at
Mon Apr 26 15:31:05 CDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Pyle
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: Mayr on "What is a Species"

"here-and-now" interconnectedness?  When I think of the word "population", I
infer a set of individuals joined by genetic heritage.  And as such, I find
it hard to think of a population without also including the dead ones.


This is a logical thought at face value.  I consider the local population to
extend beyond the local flock and to the other reproductively "same" flocks
in breeding interconnectedness.   And, when individuals die in current and
near time, I think of them as the "same thing" also.   But that natural line
of reasoning is flawed because I have to practically consider that _if_ I
continue viewing the dead as part of the living _then_ I have placed myself
into a totally subjective assessment (and indefensible argument) of where
that connectedness ends...  10 seconds, 10 days, 10 years, 10 centuries...

Herein lies our question - are "species" real.  Not if we connect them to
_anything_ beyond the least common denominator - living and local.   After
that, subjectivity (un-real) only increases.  And what do we call those
living and local populations?  Thingies?  :-)   How about a zoological (or
botanical) taxon.   A few posts of mine back I posed the word "taxon" as
perhaps better than "species" (or subspecies).

Ron Gatrelle

More information about the Taxacom mailing list