• (New) Species concepts, species delimitation and the inherent limitations of taxonomy

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    • Keywords


      methodological nominalism; species concepts; species delimitation; taxonomy

    • Abstract


      The species problem, despite decades of heated debates, has not been resolved yet. Recently, two new species concepts have been published, the mitonuclear compatibility species concept and the inclusive species concept. I briefly discuss them, together with a recent attempt at standardizing taxonomic decisions, in the broader framework of what I believe is an inherent limitation of taxonomy—imposing a discrete system on a continuous process (evolution) that leads to fuzzy boundaries in nature. In the light of this, taxonomists, biologists in general and conservationists alike will have to accept the fact that completely nonarbitrary species delimitation is impossible. This has serious ramifications in all disciplines that rely on species, and particularly species counts, as a basic currency for quantitative analyses (ecology, evolutionary biology) and practical decision-making (conservation and environmental policy).

    • Author Affiliations


      FRANK E. ZACHOS1 2

      1. Natural History Museum Vienna, Mammal Collection, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria
      2. Department of Integrative Zoology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
    • Dates

  • Journal of Genetics | News

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