Re: define species was Re: Modern Neanderthals?

Robert Gotschall (
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 01:37:45 -0800

Phillip Bigelow wrote:
> Lorenzo L. Love wrote:
> >
> >
> This, of course, is an irrelevant discussion from the point of view
> of a paleontologist or a paleoanthropologist. The rules for
> naming species are based only on structural features.
> I have noted in the past that, using this criterium, most
> "species" assignments made by both paleontologists and paleo
> anthopologists have a very high probability of being innaccurate
> from the point of view of a non-paleo zoologist. *It is probable
> that the majority of new "species" defined by paleo-scientists are
> in reality new genera.* Maybe "species" assignments are
> just a "slippery slope" in non-paleo zoology, but in paleo, these
> assignments are probably a more like a statistical artifact!
> <pb>

I forgot were this came from but I was once told that the individual is
the only true distinction, any higher classification is arbitrary. I
took that to mean that all classifications, by anybody, were essentially
statistical abstractions.