Species as "Hypotheses"

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Sat Jul 10 20:26:01 CDT 2004

Guy Redeuilh Wrote:

> FWS : [ the species limits and the conspecificity of the indivduals within
> those limits are the hypothesis.]
> This concept applies to a taxon better than a species only.

To maintain consistency with the point of my original question, I would have
to qualify this as "ranked taxon".  I'm specifically not questioning whether
phylogenetic hypotheses are testable hypotheses -- they certainly are.  I'm
talking only about the statement that "a species is an hypothesis".  I can't
recall ever seeing "a genus is an hypothesis", or "a family is an
hypothesis".  Some have argued that species are the only "real" units in
nature, and as such, are the only ones that can be "tested".  But as
discussed previously, they are only "real" in the context of an objective
set of criteria to establish that reality (an objective species concept).  I
have read a great deal of papers on this topic over the years, and they have
universally failed to persuade me that a "species" rank is somehow
demonstrably more objective than any other taxonomic rank.

Maybe that's my problem....


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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