[Taxacom] [tdwg] Semantic Web: What is a species?

J. Kirk Fitzhugh kfitzhugh at nhm.org
Fri Jan 30 11:59:56 CST 2009

We don't need to resort to truth, since this would necessitate all of us 
agreeing on which of the six or so theories of truth we're applying. The 
events of reticulation to which you speak are events among organisms. 
There is no emergent entity called a species. If there was, then we 
should be able to discern its properties. 'Speciation' results in the 
splitting of a group of organisms such that sets of reticulation events 
are now separate.

I fail to see where there is anything more special about species as for 
any other taxon.


Curtis Clark wrote:

> If we had the true genealogy of all individuals, living and dead, of a 
> large group of sexually-reproducing organisms, and plotted it in a 
> standard form, we'd see areas where the patterns were reticulate, and 
> other areas where they were divergent. The splits where one reticulum 
> separates from another are speciation. The results are species. If 
> that's not "special", I'm not sure whether anything in biology is 
> special. Of course, I'm prejudiced, because I studied speciation.

J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
Curator of Polychaetes
Invertebrate Zoology Section
Research & Collections Branch
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90007
Phone: 213-763-3233
FAX: 213-746-2999
e-mail: kfitzhug at nhm.org

More information about the Taxacom mailing list