Nature Blog Network

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Quote of the Day

"As obfuscatory as this may seem, comparative biologists must not make inferences from a species name without consulting the systematic literature to see what patterns of variation the name purports to represent."
- Mishler, B. D., & M. J. Donoghue. 1982. Species concepts: a case for pluralism. Systematic Zoology 31:491-503.


  1. I don't quite understand what that means. Are they talking about the morphologcal variation of the species to which the name refers?

  2. I took it to mean that biologists that wish to compare 2 or more species should first look up the species' description to make sure that the reported variation in characters or phylogenetic variation does not encompass the range of the species they are comparing. Also to see what species concept(s) were applied by the taxonomist when it was described.


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