[Tweeters] Re: Notes on Cordilleran vs Pacific-slope in Latah, Nez Perce, and nearby counties

Jason Hernandez jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 13 20:33:25 PDT 2014

Well, I have to say, I still wonder about the DNA evidence and what it really means.  Presumably, in order for two species to remain genetically distinct, they must be able to tell each other apart when seeking mates.  If scientists cannot explain how to tell them apart, I wonder about their own ability to tell each other apart.  (Of course, a hybrid zone indicates that they cannot necessarily tell each other apart.)

Which brings to mind a possible experiment to test the concept of "cryptospecies": take something easy to raise in the lab, such as millipedes (which in the Appalachians have been found to have many exactly identical "cryptospecies").  Put a male of one cryptospecies in the same enclosure with two females, one from his own cryptospecies, one from another cryptospecies.  See which one he mates with.  With a large enough sample size, it will be possible to determine whether there is a nonrandom pattern of mate choice (i.e. whether he can really tell the difference).

An analogy would be human gene pools.  All humans are one species, and we can, if we so choose, reproduce with someone of a different ethnic type, while there nevertheless remain distinct ethnic groups in the same city.  The distinct ethnic populations do not prove that there are different species of humans present.  I am unclear as to why this logic does not also apply to distinct gene pools, currently considered cryptospecies?

Jason Hernandez
jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com

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