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Re: symbiotic relationships among dinosaurs



I'd like to clear up the definitions of the terms symbiosis and 
mutualism, which have just been used on the list. I've done a bit of 
work on gut symbionts, and often get asked at the end of seminars "But 
how can you call them symbionts when you have no evidence that the 
relationship is mutually beneficial?" My old mate Linn Montgomery from 
Northern Arizona University told me many years ago that symbiosis 
simply means "living together." Parasites, commensals and mutualists 
are all symbionts. Mutualism describes a mutually beneficial 
relationship, e.g. cleaner fish and the fish being cleaned. The 
term symbiosis does not specify mutual benefit, just living in close 
association. Many dictionaries get this one wrong, but then most 
dictionaries get evolution wrong as well!

Kendall




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Kendall Clements
k.clements@auckland.ac.nz