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Nobody claimed it was simple, but...

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Posted by: mci at Thu Jan 19 20:48:36 2006  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by mci ]  
   

Nobody claimed it was simple. But it's not arbitrary.

First of all, most of what you're discussing isn't very important, or is completely irrelevant, to a biologist. Anything that happens in captivity is irrelevant, because biologist have no interest in classifying captive animals. Color and pattern variations are of very little importance. "Morphs" are of no importance at all.

Species are what is important to biologists. A species is an isolated gene pool. (Isolated in nature; they can possibly be crossed in captivity, but again, that's unimportant).

Subspecies are of much less importance. A subspecies is a population inhabiting a particular geographic area that displays some consistent traits, imply some level of _partial_ isolation from populations of the same species in other areas. Subspecies are populations that may be on their way to becoming full species.


   

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