[Taxacom] Species Definition?
calabar.john at gmail.com
Tue May 23 11:22:43 CDT 2017
This is why definitions really don't matter the way that they are often
On Tue, May 23, 2017 at 12:18 PM, Hannu Saarenmaa <hannu at bioshare.com>
> As an informatics person, I am amused to see this thread. And facinated
> too. Why is this still a question?
> "Facts are facts, but perception is reality". Does that that old phrase
> still rule in taxonomy?
> "a species is what a community of taxonomists says it is". "Community"
> is ambigous. So, is "species". Binomial is an attempt to
> antropomorphicically classify biodiversity. Not bad, given that the idea
> was coined 250 years ago. But the game has moved on.
> So can we please just have numbers, or something for IDs of published and
> not yet named, suggested taxonomic concepts, so that we can speak of them?
> In real world there are no species. Imagine that.
> On 2017-05-23 8:28, Richard Pyle wrote:
>> No, wait! Please don't automatically delete this message based on the
>> subject line!
>> Still with me? Cool.
>> I was curious if anyone read this:
>> And if so, whether you agree with the subtitle, "As DNA techniques let us
>> see animals in finer and finer gradients, the old definition is falling
>> apart"? We all know that people are (ab)using genetic data to draw
>> ever-finer lines among groups of organisms and labelling them with
>> Linnean-style names (binomens, no less). But it's not clear to me whether
>> this represents an evolving consensus on what we mean by "species", or if
>> is really more reflective of using a shiny new toy to boost one's
>> For the record, as far as I'm concerned, the de-facto definition of a
>> "species" hasn't changed since Darwin's time, paraphrased as "a species is
>> what a community of taxonomists says it is". But my question is about
>> whether the baseline for what the community "says it is" has changed/is
>> changing)? Or, in the long run will we retain roughly the same
>> within-taxon-group gestalt that we've generally had for a while now?
>> And if the consensus really is evolving, is that a good thing (more
>> recognition of biodiversity)? Or a bad thing (increasing incongruence with
>> historical knowledge)? My vote is to keep the best of both worlds and
>> a massive increase in the use of trinomials, but I imagine that statement
>> will be seen by many as a troll.
>> Richard L. Pyle, PhD
>> Database Coordinator | Associate Zoologist | Dive Safety Officer
>> Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu,
>> HI 96817
>> Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
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>> Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 30 Years, 1987-2017.
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