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Measuring evolutionary independence: A pragmatic approach to species classification

Conix, Stijn (2019) Measuring evolutionary independence: A pragmatic approach to species classification. Biology & Philosophy. ISSN 1572-8404

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Abstract

After decades of debates about species concepts, there is broad agreement that species are evolving lineages. However, species classification is still in a state of disorder: different methods of delimitation lead to competing outcomes for the same organisms, and the groups recognised as species are of widely different kinds. This paper considers whether this problem can be resolved by developing a unitary scale for evolutionary independence. Such a scale would show clearly when groups are comparable and allow taxonomists to choose a conventional threshold of independence for species status. Existing measurement approaches to species delimitation are typically shot down by what I call the heterogeneity objection, according to which independently evolving groups are too heterogeneous to be captured by a single scale. I draw a parallel with the measurement of temperature to argue that this objection does not provide sufficient reasons to abandon the measurement approach, and that such an approach may even help to make the vague notion of evolutionary independence more precise.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Conix, Stijn0000-0002-1487-0213
Keywords: evolutionary independence; evolving lineages; temperature measurement; species; species delimitation; taxonomic disorder;
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Systematics
Depositing User: Dr Stijn Conix
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2019 02:29
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2019 02:29
Item ID: 16566
Journal or Publication Title: Biology & Philosophy
Publisher: Springer
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Systematics
Date: 2019
ISSN: 1572-8404
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16566

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