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Do Species Exist?: Principles of Taxonomic Classification

Do Species Exist?: Principles of Taxonomic Classification

Werner Kunz

ISBN: 978-3-527-66428-3

Feb 2013, Wiley-Blackwell

280 pages


A readily comprehensible guide for biologists, field taxonomists and interested laymen to one of the oldest problems in biology: the species problem. Written by a geneticist with extensive experience in field taxonomy, this practical book provides the sound scientific background to the problems arising with classifying organisms according to species. It covers the main current theories of specification and gives a number of examples that cannot be explained by any single theory alone.
Are species constructs of the human mind?
Why is there a species problem?
What are traits in taxonomy?
Diversity within the species: polymorphisms and the polytypic species
Biological species as a gene-flow community
The cohesion of organisms through genealogical lineage (cladistics)

“The question whether species really exist and if so, what the nature of their existence is, remains a central problem in the philosophy of biology, even after many decades of thinking and debating. Kunz’s book clearly shows that the debate is far from over”.  (Acta Biotheor, 1 June 2013)

“This year’s version is an interesting hybrid that lays out the various concepts, but deals with them with the practicing biologist in mind, not the philosopher. For that, I applaud it.”  (Teaching Biology, 20 December 2012)

"Recommended for those with a technical or semi-technical interest in systematics." (Ian Paulsen, Birdbooker Report 244, Oct 2012)