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I think I'm approaching my message quota for the day, so this had probably 
better be it for now.

In a message dated 9/4/00 3:50:29 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
Dinogeorge@aol.com writes:

> So what you're saying is that the boundaries recognized between taxa are 
>  result of gaps in the fossil record and/or fortuitous survival into the 
>  modern era rather than anything inherent in the organisms (such as 
>  morphology, genome, etc.).

I'm not sure what you're asking.  Of course, morphology, genome, etc., are 
different in different taxa.  But if you were confronted with every 
individual organism that ever lived, morphology and genome would appear to be 
pretty much continuously variable, without any convenient breaking points 
between taxa.

So, yes, in that sense, it is the gaps in the fossil record and fortuitous 
survival (and probably, in a few cases, fortuitous sampling of living 
populations) that allow us to draw boundaries between taxa.

Am I being at all clear here?

Nick P.