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Old 23rd August 2014   #55 (permalink)
FrogEyes
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Default Re: Scientific Nomenclature

Well, that has little to do with this thread, as the subject is nomenclature, not classification. I will however state simply that your understanding of what a species is, is flawed. You're not alone in your misunderstanding, not by far. Without straying too far from topic I will only address two main points: first, current species concepts tend to apply fairly universally to all previous species concepts, a fact which tends to validate the genetic/cladistics approach. Second, the idea that animals able to interbreed must be the same species is incorrect, and a case of badly flawed logic. The converse of "must be separate species because they cannot interbreed" is not "must be the same species because they can interbreed". The alternative to the first [specific] statement is instead any statement which is less specific. That basically means 'may or may not be separate species based on other criteria'.

Ambystoma mexicanum maintains a separate gene pool, morphology, distribution, and ecology from a number of other named tiger salamanders, indicating it is a separate species with its own history and biology. Separate from subsalsum, taylori, tigrinum, californiense, mavortium, dumerilii, andersoni, lermaense, silvense, ordinarium, and a bunch of others. While some of these show evidence of hybridization or undescribed species, each is distinctive in various ways and has a separate and essentially unique gene pool coupled to its other unique traits.

Zoological names, whether for species or higher taxa, are essentially scientific theories summarized in one or two words. Theories about how they are ancestrally related and whether they currently share a reproductive group/gene pool.
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