Re: Homo Sapiens needs to be classified in sub species.

Gerold Firl (
8 Sep 1995 13:16:09 -0700

In article <42nt4r$> writes:
>In article <>,
>Gerold Firl <> wrote:
>}Anyone with any knowledge of evolutionary biology can clearly see that
>}there are human subspecies.

>What are their Latin names?

A fair question - no scientific consensus has ever emerged regarding the
appropriate level of differentiation between races, and thus races do not
have commonly accepted linnean designations.

In the case of other species, say, pocket gophers, the first biologist who
came along with sufficient interest and time to classify the regional
varieties could apply whatever level of differentiation seemed appropriate.
It might eventually provoke a counter, if someone else felt that the
analysis was flawed, and cared enough to take the time, but such disputes
are carried-on at the leisurely pace of scholarly debate. The human case is

Many classification proposals have been suggested. There are those who will
passionately proclaim that "there is only one human race - the human
race!". That is one extreme, the ultimate lump. A popular, and still overly
lumpy, in my opinion, classification uses three races: negroid, caucasian,
and mongoloid. I seem to recall an attempt to more finely split h. sapiens
into 33 races; that is pretty far out on the extreme end of the lumper-
splitter continuum, but is by no means unjustified. Many other species have
been classified to similar levels of sub-speciation; the pocket gopher, for

So, I am saying that anyone with an understanding of evolutionary biology
(unless they have an ideological axe to grind!) can easily see that human
subspecies exist. The african pygmies are the clearest example of that. The
question then is where and how would the divisions be drawn; what level of
differentiation is appropriate? Again, a fair question. It depends on what
you're interested in. Anthropology, the science of man, which examines all
aspects of the human condition, benefits from an understanding of even
subtle differences between human populations. As we see from evolutionary
biology, over long periods of time, even subtle differences can produce
significant divergance. Thus I would argue that shying away from the issue
of human race is an act of abdication, a retreat from a legitimate aspect of
study as a result of political pressure. I support the idea of an ethical
foundation to work; anthropologists must follow their conscience, as must
all of us. I'm saying that this should not be an "ethical" issue; race is a
biological fact, and must be treated as such. I don't like the idea of race
being used as a political tool, either, but that is a different issue
entirely. Pretending that race doesn't exist simply won't help anything.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf