I had started this a little while ago and was hashing out the drafts when I realized Darwin’s birthday was coming up, and felt delaying it until now was appropriate. That said, I apologize in advance, because this post is simply begging for a lot more research on my part, but instead of engaging in that and coming back with something more informative, I’m plowing ahead in ignorance (like
Over at the New York Times, Carl Zimmer has an article on the difficulties of pinning down hominid species, which illustrates an interesting perspective in biology, but is unfortunately a little too brief. There are a couple of factors at play, and no easy way to resolve them.
The very first thing to bear in mind is that ‘species’ is an arbitrary distinction in many ways. The word was