[Taxacom] Reproducibility of descriptive data

bti at dsmz.de bti at dsmz.de
Fri Sep 11 06:51:16 CDT 2009

I just stumbled across this, which is an attempt by a microbiologist  
to provide a universal species concept - or does he mean definition?


Quoting Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>:

> Stephen,
> This increasingly poorly-named thread echoes many, many others on  
> Taxacom over the years. You are not likely to persuade many regulars  
> to your position on species boundaries, including me. On the other  
> hand, it doesn't look like the regulars are making much headway in  
> persuading you away from your position, either. Sigh.
> I'll just make a couple of small points and then shut up.
> First, the Linnean system doesn't rely on just one particular choice  
> from among the dozens of species concepts, and it doesn't wither up  
> and blow away when one species-concept fashion changes to another in  
> biology. As you have so clearly pointed out, a Linnean species name  
> is tied to a type specimen and is a taxonomic convenience. It isn't  
> meant to imply something universal about how things reproduce and  
> how living things vary. Please don't argue that it should.
> Second, you wrote: "if reproductive isolation wasn't the norm, then  
> we simply wouldn't find organisms falling as they do into  
> identifiable morphotypes". Can I point out that this is the  
> contrapositive of your argument that identifiable morphotypes only  
> arise through reproductive isolation? [IF identifiable morphotypes,  
> THEN reproductive isolation occurred; IF NO reproductive isolation,  
> THEN NO identifiable morphotypes].
> A lot of us Taxacomers don't accept the argument, except in the  
> trivial sense that geographical isolation and ecological isolation  
> *may* lead morphologically distinct populations to fail the Mayr BSC  
> test. There are also a lot of single, identifiable morphotypes in  
> this world which are truly reproductively isolated. Among sexual  
> forms, they're generally called cryptic species.
> Regards,
> Bob
> --
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
> School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
> Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
> Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html
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