Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Species Lines?

Is the panther chameleon one species...or is it eleven? Scientists now think the latter.

It makes me question, as I often do, where we put the line between species. Man is a naming and classifying animal - the ancient Hebrews recognized this when they made the first task God gave him that of naming all the animals and birds.

But...when is a species a species? When it can't interbreed? Uh huh - wolves, dogs and coyotes interbreed with no problems at all. Various cat species do with the issue of male infertility (which I firmly believe was also the case with hominid interbreeding - the evidence certainly points that way). Birds do it all the time too - ask any falconer to give you the special virtues of lanner/saker hybrids.

We're now resorting to measuring genetic variance, but...

Maybe there's no such thing as a species. Maybe all there is is a discreet population that generally shares traits...something we more normally call a 'landrace' or 'breed.'

In other words - do our pattern seeking primate minds make things over complex and overly simple at the same time?