Category Archives: speciation

Defining species: a new but problematic species concept

A few days ago I was interviewed by Eva Botkin-Kowacki, a science writer for the Christian Science Monitor. She wanted to discuss a new paper on speciation in birds, a commentary published in The Auk by Geoffrey E. Hill of Auburn University: “The mitonuclear compatibility species concept” (free download, reference at bottom). She also interviewed several other […]

How (and how fast) do new species form?

Most evolutionists think that speciation, which we see as the origin of a new group whose members are unable to produce fertile hybrids with other such groups (but whose members are interfertile with each other) occurs in the following way. Populations of a single species become geographically isolated by the interposition of geographic barriers like mountains, deserts, water, […]

PBS: How many species of giraffes are there?

A while back I discussed a paper in Current Biology by Julian Fennessy et al. . That paper used genetic analysis (the total genetic divergence among groups) to claim that there are actually four species of giraffe instead of a single species with nine subspecies. Using the Biological Species Concept (BSC), however, I argued that there […]

The politics of speciation

From reader Pliny the in Between’s newly renamed site, The Far Corner Cafe, we have a cartoon called “If you catch my genetic drift.” Click to enlarge. I would never mate with a Republican!

12 days of evolution. #5: Have we seen new species arise?

This is a video after my own heart, since it’s about speciation: the splitting of a single lineage into two or more lineages unable to exchange genes. The question at hand, since this series—put together by PBS and “It’s Okay to be Smart”—is a long refutation of common creationist arguments, is this one: “Can we […]

The “coywolf”: a new species of canid?

At least three readers have pointed me to articles, one in The Economist and the other in Raw Story, arguing that a new species of canid, the “coywolf” (also called a “wolfote”) is emerging before our eyes as wolves (Canis lupus), domestic dogs, and coyotes (Canis latrans) all hybridize to form a distinct entity. Such “hybrid […]

Cameroon lake cichlids probably did not speciate sympatrically: Part 2

Yesterday I gave the background necessary for understanding a new paper in Evolution by Christopher H. Martin et al. (reference and link below). Today I’ll briefly describe the paper’s findings—findings that cast doubt on one of our premier examples of sympatric speciation. That example was the existence of assemblages of cichlid fish in small volcanic crater […]

Cameroon lake cichlids probably did not speciate sympatrically: Part 1

I will break up my discussion of the paper below into two parts that will appear today and tomorrow. This is because I want to avoid a single long post that may put off readers. I give references to all the papers mentioned at the bottom of the post. All evolutionists agree, and the data show, that […]

Where did bedbugs come from?

Human bedbugs, Cimex lectularius, are “true bugs,” that is, insects in the order Hemiptera. They are an infernal pest, sucking the blood out of people and leaving a nasty, itchy rash. (I was bitten only once, but it was in a fleabag hotel in Peru, and there were many bites all over me, with the rash […]

Felid Face of the Day

by Greg Mayer Not only did we find much commendable in Andrew Sullivan’s coverage of the pollsters vs. pundits dispute, but Andrew has now taken to posting felid pictures, too! He’s always been a diehard goggieophile. Plus, there’s relevance to readers of WEIT, or, even more so, Jerry’s first book, with Allen Orr, Speciation: the […]