Missing Links Make Defining Species Possible

As we trace the ancestry of modern Homo sapiens backwards, there must come a time when the difference from living people is sufficiently great to deserve a different specific name, say Homo ergaster. Yet, every step of the way, individuals were presumably sufficiently similar to their parents and their children to be placed in the same species. Now we go back further, tracing the ancestry of Homo ergaster, and there must come a time when we reach individuals who are sufficiently different from 'mainstream' ergaster to deserve a different specific name, say Homo habilis. And now we come to the point of this argument. As we go back further still, at some point we must start to hit individuals sufficiently different from modern Homo sapiens to deserve a different genus name: say Australopithecus. The trouble is, 'sufficiently different from modern Homo sapiens' is another matter entirely from 'sufficiently different from the earliest Homo', here designated Homo habilis. Think about the first specimen of Homo habilis to be born. Her parents were Australopithecus. She belonged to a different genus from her parents? That's just dopey! Yes it certainly is. But it is not reality that's at fault, it's our human insistence on shoving everything into a named category. In reality, there was no such creature as the first specimen of Homo habilis. There was no first specimen of any species or any genus or any order or any class or any phylum. Every creature that has ever been born would have been classified - had there been a zoologist around to do the classifying - as belonging to exactly the same species as its parents and its children. Yet, with the hindsight of modernity, and with the benefit - yes, in this one paradoxical sense benefit - of the fact that most of the links are missing, classification into distinct species, genera, families, orders, classes and phyla becomes possible.


Without missing links, species would blur into each other.

Folksonomies: evolution biology species missing links

/travel/tourist destinations/africa (0.648439)
/science/biology/zoology/endangered species (0.343037)
/science/social science/history/genealogy (0.328238)

Homo (0.978111 (positive:0.155136)), Homo sapiens backwards (0.877191 (neutral:0.000000)), Homo ergaster (0.794673 (negative:-0.261939)), Homo habilis (0.792674 (neutral:0.000000)), modern Homo (0.789382 (positive:0.417075)), earliest Homo (0.595887 (neutral:0.000000)), Links Make Defining (0.584342 (negative:-0.727156)), different genus (0.534097 (neutral:0.000000)), species (0.455894 (negative:-0.064981)), human insistence (0.399054 (negative:-0.743948)), Species Possible (0.392691 (negative:-0.727156)), parents (0.377957 (positive:0.463509)), sense benefit (0.371416 (positive:0.307460)), distinct species (0.368486 (negative:-0.334286)), specimen (0.338146 (neutral:0.000000)), individuals (0.328835 (positive:0.427461)), Australopithecus (0.316209 (neutral:0.000000)), ancestry (0.296836 (neutral:0.000000)), creature (0.289716 (negative:-0.297006)), time (0.283307 (positive:0.483325)), reality (0.275927 (negative:-0.744141)), point (0.274051 (positive:0.377378)), dopey (0.254851 (negative:-0.811011)), hindsight (0.247143 (positive:0.485102)), zoologist (0.246012 (neutral:0.000000)), difference (0.244785 (positive:0.676017)), people (0.243664 (positive:0.676017)), modernity (0.243067 (positive:0.485102)), phyla (0.242239 (neutral:0.000000)), argument (0.241682 (positive:0.377378))

Homo sapiens:FieldTerminology (0.889103 (positive:0.417075)), habilis.:Person (0.117187 (positive:0.377378))

Species (0.970601): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Human (0.909277): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Genus (0.733419): dbpedia | freebase
Homo ergaster (0.694004): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Homo erectus (0.641002): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Homo habilis (0.560354): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Biology (0.522377): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Kingdom (0.437560): dbpedia | freebase

 The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dawkins, Richard (2010-08-24), The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, Free Press, Retrieved on 2011-05-19
Folksonomies: evolution science


04 SEP 2011

 Why Evolution is True

Memes that support the Theory of Evolution