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Re: Progress schmogress (was Re: competition)

I agree that "progress" is a very subjective term (as is "better", or even "successful"). However I think your example of apes and mosquitoes is an even worse case of mixing apples and oranges. At least Eric was comparing fish to fish, and the diversity of living actinopterygian fish (21,000+ species) is indeed huge compared to that of the surviving sarcopterygian fish (7 or 8 species).
Another example (comparing relatively closely related groups) would be arachnids (well over 70,000 species), while their chelicerate cousins (horseshoe crabs) only have a handful of species. Mosquito diversity should be compared to that of other insects, not to apes.

From: "Tim Williams" <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>
Reply-To: twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com
To: ELurio@aol.com, dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Progress schmogress (was Re: competition)
Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2001 10:47:30 -0500

Eriuc Lurio wrote:

There are twenty thousand teleosts and two celocanths, which group is
at being fish?

I would say teleosts are better at being teleosts and coelacanths are better
at being coelacanths. Apples and oranges.

I'm guessing that you wish to imply by your statement that "more species =
more successful = more progress". How about this then; the family Hominidae
has only four living species (and three of those are not doing so well these
days), while there are over 1600 species of mosquitoes (Culicidae) in the
world today. Did skeeters therefore undergo more "progress" than naked

Rather than attemptying to define what "progress" might mean in an
evolutionary context, it may be better just to discard the term altogether.
The word misleads more than educates.



Timothy J. Williams

USDA/ARS Researcher
Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014

Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax:   515 294 3163

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