[Taxacom] Clade age (was: Taxacom Digest)‏

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sat Nov 12 10:44:23 CST 2011

> > If it is impossible to work on live specimens then stick your neck out
> make a call:
> > "a species is what a competent taxonomist says it is."
> This is also true when working on live specimens.

Indeed, this is *always* true.

Here's how Darwin put it:

“Hence, in determining whether a form should be ranked as a species or a
variety, the opinion of naturalists having sound judgment and wide
experience seems the only guide to follow.”

He followed this up with:

“We must, however, in many cases, decide by a majority of naturalists, for
few well-marked and well-known varieties can be named which have not been
ranked as species by at least some competent judges.”

..which translates to:

“A species is what a community of taxonomists says it is.”


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