By Lynn Margulis
From one of many nice iconoclasts of contemporary biology, Lynn Margulis, a groundbreaking new concept of the origins of species
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Additional info for Acquiring Genomes. A Theory of the Origin of Species
The birds copulated and bred and copulated and bred in neverbefore- seen orgies. This vast environmental change from dry to wet to dry again generated a numbers feast for the scientist measurers. Great population swings occurred—excursions away from the large cactus seedeaters and their starving young toward a baby boom among the small birds.
We argue here that of these three concepts of species, the traditional, morphological one is still the best. The morphological species, we will show, is the external manifestation of the symbiogenetic species. The assignment of similar animals of compatible genders to the same species if, in their natural habitat, they can mate and produce viable offspring is adequate for mammals and many other animals but it is not general. Here we widen the concept of speciation to include all organisms. Our symbiogenetic definition of species is as follows.
As stated, a problem with modern “evolutionary biologists” is that their examples are nearly always derived from people or other animals, especially other land mammals. Occasionally fruit flies or other insects serve as their illustrations of evolution. When they say “lower organisms,” they are generally speaking of animals other than mammals. As zoologists they tend not to know the microbial world—they are often ignorant of bacteria, fungi, and the myriad other “larger” microbes called protists.