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Re: Ancestors... (was Re: Stratigraphy, biogeography & cladograms)



William Hinchman wrote:

Tom Holtz wrote:
 
<<species concept altogether and like him recognize that a lot of
taxonomy is bass-ackwards: that lineages are the real thing, and
species are the human constructs.>>

<It had been my understanding that "species" was the reality and all
groupings above that level were man made.  Is it not so that to be the
same species an organism must be able to mate with a like organism and
produce a viable offspring?

[schnarp ... uh, I mean snip ... I'm thinking with a lisp today....]

<If species is also a human construct, what would be the definition?>

  Species is a construction, just a more finite one than genus. In all
living things, there are no boundaries that cannot be crossed except
breeding populations, which differ only by development from a point.
At first, genus was the boundary, then species, and animals have
crossed them (well, maybe not the genus one).

  Systematically, if a genus is derived from a species, it only stands
to reason that the specific animal that is being described is a
possible descendant of the animal that is most similar to it (and
barring verifiable a-/-d relationships, they would be sister taxa);
however, speaking of living things where such can be observed, if an
animal exhibiting primitive characters representing a reversal from
its more "lineologically forward" inclined parents is distinct enough,
it's a very new animal, and can be described as such, right? Using
simple bones to tell this out, the descendant is different enough from
the parent to exhibit characters diagnostic of a new level of
life---it becomes a new taxon, essentially. So, a species is derived
from a species, but it does not become a subspecies. It's too
different. It also makes little sense and I'm sure some of you are
pulling your hair out over my "logic".

  What I'm trying to say is that in any sense,

--genus
   \_species
   |_species
      \_subspecies
      |_new species
      |  \_new species
      \_new genus
  
  is illogical.

  Can a genus be derived from a species? Even if it exhibits a
remarkable amount of novelties or reversals (1s and Os) that differ
from it's parent group, can it then be placed phylogenetically
"sister" to it's parent?

==
- Often, it is the man who is brought
  down the path to the end who does
  not see his own steps. -

Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
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