生物多样性 ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (9): 1009-1013.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016223

所属专题: 物种概念专题

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为什么在物种概念上难以达成共识?

张德兴1,2,,A;*()   

  1. 1 中国科学院动物研究所, 北京 100101
    2 中国科学院北京基因组研究所, 北京 100101
  • 出版日期:2016-09-20 发布日期:2016-10-09
  • 通讯作者: 张德兴
  • 基金资助:
    中国科学院先导专项动物复杂性状的进化解析与调控(XDB13030200)

Why is it so difficult to reach a consensus in species concept?

Dexing Zhang1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
  • Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-10-09
  • Contact: Zhang Dexing

摘要:

生物学家通常认为物种是生命多样性的基本单位。然而, 尽管近一个世纪以来生物学家们不断地讨论物种概念问题, 但到目前为止仍然难以形成共识。大多数生物学家关注如何定义物种主要是因为它有非常重要的实践意义, 所以, 不同学者提出的物种概念在很大程度上是基于实践应用上的可操作性, 并且其视角难免受其专业见地以及对形成新物种的进化过程的认识所影响。物种代表了进化过程的一个阶段, 而且不同的“物种”可能处于物种形成这个进化过程的不同阶段。鉴于“定义”实际上是一种类似协议的约定或界定, 任何定义都是一种带有局限性的概括, 因此我们可能很难建立一个与分类实践中千变万化的情况都能完全匹配协调的物种定义。已经提出来的那些物种概念或定义都有其合理性, 但是也没有一个是完美无缺的。认识到这一点很重要, 否则就可能会因为固执地坚持某一特定的物种概念而在物种界定和进化研究中自觉或不自觉地引入错误甚至制造混乱。

关键词: 物种, 物种概念, 物种形成, 生殖隔离, 种群分化, 分歧原理, 神奇性状

Abstract

Biologists believe that species is the basic unit of biological diversity, and few people will doubt the fact that there exist distinct species in nature. Nevertheless, despite of ceaseless debating on species concept or species definition among biologists over nearly a century, no consensus has been reached. Species definition concerns many biologists because it has far-reaching practical implications. Therefore, species concepts proposed by various scholars zero in greatly on their operational convenience and practical applicability in research activity such as taxonomic classification. As a result, these concepts and definitions are unavoidably shaped by the visions of the scholars which are further shaped by their insights into the evolutionary process of speciation. Speciation represents a stage in evolutionary divergence, and also different “species” may be at different stages of the speciation process. Since a “definition” is a kind of convention or confining description, every definition would bear some limitations. It would be thus very difficult, if not impossible, to define a perfect species concept that will accord with all species in taxonomic practice. From this perspective, we should confess that while every species concept or definition proposed thus far is reasonable, none is faultless or flawless. It is very important to bear this in mind, because, otherwise, one may stubbornly insist on one single species concept and introduces errors or even triggers chaos and confusion, consciously or unconsciously, in taxonomic and other evolutionary researches.

Key words: species, species concept, speciation, reproductive isolation, population subdivision, principle of divergence, magic trait