Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Nick Maclaren (
9 Sep 1996 09:38:10 GMT

In article <>, Stephen Barnard <> writes:
|> Nick Maclaren wrote:
|> >
|> > When you bring the time dimension into it, things become much more
|> > confused. For example, you would agree that mammals give birth to
|> > infants of their own species? Well, we have continuous descent from
|> > a proto-human that was unquestionably not of our species, if we go
|> > back far enough. At some point, one species will have changed into
|> > another, between generations :-)
|> This isn't really the way it works. A new species doesn't appear
|> "between generations". In fact, there are no well-defined speciation
|> events. Speciation is something that can only be recognized well after
|> the fact.

I am sorry - I should have known better than to use irony on Usenet,
even indicated by a smiley! Yes, that is precisely what I meant.

|> BTW, are hybrids of lions and tigers really fertile?

Yes. 20-30 years ago, lots of zoos bred tigons, ligers, and second
generation whatsits.

Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.
Tel.: +44 1223 334761 Fax: +44 1223 334679