biological species


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Related to biological species: phylogenetic species

biological species

groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations which are reproductively isolated from other such groups. Recently the biological species concept (BSC) has been criticized by the proponents of the PHYLOGENETIC SPECIES concept (PSC) particularly on the basis that:
  1. It does not rely on rigorous analysis of taxonomically valid characters but on an inferred speciation process.
  2. That the process of reproductive isolation is usually untestable, giving rise to necessary assumptions concerning reproductive isolation.
  3. POLYTYPIC species are not single evolutionary units.

However, the PSC presents even more problems and again, in the long run, depends on the opinions of the taxonomist. Disagreements amongst taxonomists concerning subspecies under the BSC would translate to a much more difficult situation of species under PSC, and its supporters include those apparently intent on increasing the overall number of species - more than doubling the number of bird species for example. However the number of species recognized is not a factor in the argument. Speciation is an ongoing process and inevitably the point at which a population ceases to breed freely with other populations (thus making the species the only natural taxonomic unit) is difficult to recognize and this gives rise to controversy. At the present time a good case has not been made out to dispense with the biological species.

References in periodicals archive ?
Wheeler's implicit argument is that scholars who give undue significance to articulate language underestimate other forms of language that are shared across biological species lines.
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Eugene Hunn makes the connection among linguistic, cultural, and biological species, and then brings us E.
Paraclinus walkeri seems to behave as a good biological species that is ripe for further research.
The environment in which we live faces collapse or drastic change through climate change, over-population, unequal distribution of wealth, food and water etc, and the loss of the biological species that hold our ecosystem together.
The preserve is designed to protect the slender-horned spine flower and other protected biological species on the site.
She recorded 525 Nikopo plant terms (including synonyms), idendtifying 36 percent of these to the level of biological species and 68 and 99 percent, respectively, to the levels of genus and family.