[Taxacom] Clade age (was: Taxacom Digest)

Lynn Raw lynn at afriherp.org
Sat Nov 12 15:36:38 CST 2011


On second thoughts, it wasn't a good example. (Your second example makes me wonder about that Antipodean population -  I heard something on UK TV last night that makes it seem that they may regarded here as perhaps a subspecies <G>).

While on the subject of P. domesticus, two populations were introduced to South Africa at different times, one from western Europe at Cape Town at the south-western tip and the other from the Indian subcontinent at Durban on the east coast. The second population has expanded its range considerably and last I was heard they were likely to meet at some point. I wonder if they will merge or if the first will just be replaced by the second.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Sparrow


On 12 Nov 2011, at 20:03, Kenneth Kinman wrote:

Hi Lynn,     
       I think your "slice of time" is a little too thin
on Passer domesticus. The population in North America was introduced
only 160 years. Coming from one area of England, it didn't represent the

total amount of variation of the species as a whole, but I wouldn't even

call the North American population a separate subspecies, much less a
species. That would be sort of like calling the Caucasian population of
Australia a separate taxon of human.            
Lynn Raw wrote:                   
          I think the mistake we make is that our
evidence concerns a very thin slice of time, like embedding a tree in
paraffin, cutiing a section and then trying to understand which sections

of twigs belong together. We can only define species in the present, not

the past or future. Are the introduced Passer domesticus of North
America still part of the Eurasian Passer domesticus panmictic system? I

would say not, but you might have other ideas. Hmmm, maybe I just coined

a new definition of species <G>. 


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