Species as "Hypotheses"

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at ISTAR.CA
Sat Jul 10 18:52:41 CDT 2004

Richard Pyle wrote:
>  Several posts state that a species is a "hypothesis".
> I've seen this assertion repeatedly
> on this list and elsewhere, and cannot figure out what
> the statement is supposed to mean.

* the hypothesis is that the species delimited by nomenclatoral
circumscription and described/diagnostic characteristics of individuals
corresponds to a species under the species concept explicitly or
implicitly endorsed by the revisor - "the individuals with these
characterisitcs collectively represent a
biological/phylogenetic/whatever species." The hypothesis is falsified
by finding evidence that lumps or splits the delimited taxon under the
designated species concept.

The name is an accident (the oldest available within the delimited
specimens) - the species limits and the conspecificity of the indivduals
within those limits are the hypothesis.


           Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
Frederick W. Schueler, Aleta Karstad, Jennifer Helene Schueler
      RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
   on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
     (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca
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