Andrew Petto (AJPETTO@MACC.WISC.EDU)
Thu, 14 Sep 1995 14:23:00 CDT
Matthew Hill wrote:
Maybe I am a bit obtuse Danny but if membership of a species is defined
only by genealogy doesn't that make all animals (at least) members of the
same species? Sure there must be something else involved....
Scott Atran tries to identify the "something else" in 2 books -- The History of
the Species Concept (rough translation from the French) and Cognitive
Foundations of Natural History. He works through both the classificatory and
genealogical aspects of species identification.
Problem is, as both Matthew's and Danny's posts have illustrated, that our
construct of "species" is aiming for something a lot more concrete and delimited
than the biological conditions of phylogenesis really allow. Maybe it's time
for an uncertainty principle for species!
THere clearly is something else, but it is often temporal, behavioral,
geographical, maybe even temperamental, involved in the process of making new
species. There is, as they say, a lot of "slop" in the system, but in the end,
members of a species can reliably recognize each other and distinguish among
others (of different species).