Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX Norbert.Kondla at
Tue Feb 8 11:07:10 EST 2000

Not just the molecular folks wondering if biological species really exist.
In fact all the various species concepts (ditto for other taxonomic
categories) have been created by human minds and may or may not have
anything to do with the "real" world.  Placing things in categories is
helpful for communication and deciding what things to learn about.  What I
see in the non-human environment is a suite of biotic and abiotic factors
interacting with individual organisms and populations of organisms - not
species.  Until some omnipotent deity decrees that there shall only be one
view of sundry taxonomic concepts; we shall continue to have interesting
discussions as we test our taxonomic definitions and concepts against the
rich smorgasboard that mother nature has provided for our entertainment.
Healthy to maintain a sense of perspective on these matters; the one I like
is the view put forward by Eddie Hubble - something along the lines of:
humanity is engaged in a grand adventure of exploring and learning about the
environment we exist in - some people call this science.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Gochfeld [mailto:gochfeld at EOHSI.RUTGERS.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2000 2:35 AM
To: leps-l at
Subject: Re: Subspecies

My understanding of subspecies is like Chris': designation of geographic 
variation with an implication of the potential for interbreeding and 
interfertility (and no negative selection against hybrids) where the two 
subspecies (often called races) come in contact. 

But again, that concept which is largely ornithological, may not fit for 
other groups of organisms with very different biology (in fact it 
probably doesn't fit all that well for many birds, where new information 
suggests that formerly designated subspecies are now full "biological" 
species.  And to top that off, more and more molecular folks are calling 
into question whether the biological species is more than a human 

Mike Gochfeld

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