Re: Modern Neanderthals?

Larry Devich (
Mon, 21 Oct 1996 20:43:58 GMT

On 20 Oct 1996 17:39:32 GMT, "Rohinton Collins"
<> wrote:

>Again, splitter or lumper? I would describe a distinct species as one which
>is reproductively isolated. But this is, of course, very difficult to
>determine in extinct species.

It seems to me that this definition of a species is very slippery.
How do you determine if a population is reproductively isolated? For
what period of time does this isolation have to persist to qualify?
If two groups of organisms are isolated but not really noticeably
different, can interbreed and produce fertile offspring you call them
two species?? Using this definition Inuit would be a different
species from Bushmen, correct?
If not, why not? :-) I'm really curious, I had always considered any
populations that "could" interbreed successfully to be of the same
species. In extinct animals there would have to be significant
differences before I'd call them separate.
I'm no expert on any of this so please be gentle :-)