Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Year of Darwin: 8/14/2014 Darwin doesn't do species

 Charles Darwin

"Nor shall I here discuss the various definitions which have been given of the term species. No one definition has satisfied all naturalists; yet every naturalist knows vaguely what he means when he speaks of a species" Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

I used to think the same and that the current state of knowledge concerning species was a mess. No longer. Perhaps I've lost my openness about it but I've come an ardent fan of the Evolutionary Species Concept. This species concept simply says that species and independently evolving populations. Simple right?  The most popular species concept is the Biological Species Concept, which states that populations are different species if they don't(?)/cannot(?) breed. This definition tells us how to diagnose species but never tells us what they are. If populations cannot breed then they will be evolving independently. But what if isolated populations can still breed, why use reproduction? Can they be evolving independently without evolving reproductive isolation? Of course. 

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