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I don't think species as a term would be regulated by which lifeforms
could breed with others. Indeed,
there are many species that can successfully breed with others to create
a hybrid offspring.
Species, as I would define it (myself, not having any formal education
in Biology either!), would be the lowest
level of individuality of a life form. That is, one or more traits that
belong to a particular lifeform that no other lifeforms possess.
The opposite, when grouping numerous species in the same clade (or if
you still like to do Phylums, Classes, etc..) is
to say "everyone in this group has THIS or THESE trait(s)" no matter how
different the lifeforms actually are.
The above was probably a butchered layperson definition of some basic
taxomic concepts, but I hope it helps!
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 1998 11:12 AM
To: dinosaur; Farlow
Subject: RE: species
Dr. Farlow and Dinolist members...
Thanks, you jogged a brain cell or two about species. I
don't have ANY
training in anatomy or biology and I'm very hazy as to what a
really is. I had always thought that the definition was a group
interbreeding individuals. And two different 'species' cannot
and produce viable offspring. How does this apply to the
defining of a
dinosaur species. Obviously we don't have the means to breed
we have to rely on anatomy to define the species. How do the
Do we have a good handle on what anatomical differences are
enough to fit
into the definition? Or am I 'full of weeds' with the species
Date: Thursday, July 23, 1998 7:56AM
Now that species concepts are being discussed, I have been
interesting treatment of just such matters, albeit for a
W.H. Kimbel and L.B. Martin (eds.), 1993, Species, Species
and Primate Evolution. Plenum Press.
I found the paper by Niles Eldredge therein (What, if
anything, is a
species?") to be particularly informative.
Changing the subject, now comes a query: Does anybody out
the top of her/his head know about publications that report
the coefficient of variation for postcranial bones--and
phalanges in particular, if such data are available--for
dinosaurs, non-dinosaurian archosaurs, birds, crocodilians,