Are species real?

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Apr 10 17:55:45 CDT 2006

I still prefer the notion that species are real, but fuzzy at the boundaries.  I must admit that I have always thought of plant species as being generally fuzzier than animal species (especially vertebrates).  But whether it is a plant or an animal, being fuzzy doesn't cause problems if extinction has wiped out your closest relatives (like the aardvark, tuatara, or maidenhair tree).  If there are no near relatives to be "promiscuous" with, there is no problem.  It's sort of like looking at a single atom in isolation with its fuzzy cloud of electrons.  However, when two or more of these fuzzy atoms overlap in a molecule, it gets trickier for the human scientist studying them.  When you have rapidly speciating species (of plants or animals), those fuzzy boundaries really cause a lot of problems, so much so that it can make one doubt the reality of species in general.  But can one really say that the aardvark species is not real?
           Ken Kinman

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