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RE: Species [arbitrary to a degree]
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of
> The difinition of a species has always been any group of
> organisms who can
> fertile decendants.
Not true, actually. The definition ELurio gives was developed in the
mid-20th Century, centuries after Linnaeus and company first applied the
term "species" to that "kind" of organism most people agree are species.
However, the definition ELurio gives is a close approximation of the
Biological Species Concept (BSC), which did indeed dominate 20th Century
thinking on the nature of species.
A check at a good science library will turn up a few (dozen) books and a few
(hundred) papers on "the species problem" or "the species concept". Just to
name a few simple problems with the BSC: under the definition as ELurio
gives it, lions and tigers are members of the same species (ligers are
cross-fertile with tigers, at least), as are grizzlies and polar bears
(which produce fertile 'golden bear' offspring, as was discovered by the
National Zoo after a romantic liason that the workers were wise not to try
So the BSC is a good first approximation, but it is ONLY an approximation.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: email@example.com
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796