Darwin's finches race/species

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anf
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Darwin's finches race/species

Post by anf » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:57 pm

Can anyone (an expert) tell my why the finches are considered different species and not only races when they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring? Of course I know of different definitions of species but I teach biology and need a good, simple explanation for my students.

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Anders
M.Sc. & cand.scient.

wbla3335
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Post by wbla3335 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:44 pm

Basically because a human decided to call them species. Life on Earth does not fall into natural categories. Systematics is a human construct. We try to do the best we can, try to create discrete categories when most of life is a continuum. It doesn't always work so well, but we try. Someone else might have called them subspecies or simply different populations.

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alextemplet
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Post by alextemplet » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:48 pm

The best answer you can give is that there is no universally-agreed upon definition for what constitutes a species. We have some definitions that seem to work for most cases but there are always exceptions.
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