Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

Quote of the Day: Lamarck on Species

From Lamarck’s Zoological Philosophy (1809)

The farther we advance in our knowledge of the various organised bodies which cover almost every part of the earth’s surface, the greater becomes our difficulty in determining what should be regarded as a species, and still more in finding the boundaries and distinctions of genera.

According as the productions of nature are collected and our museums grow richer, we see nearly all gaps filled up and the lines of demarcation effaced.  We find ourselves reduced to an arbitrary decision which sometimes leads us to take the smallest differences of varieties and erect them into what we call species, and sometimes leads us to describe as a variety of some species slightly differing individuals which others regard as constituting a separate species.

Just as true now as then.

And for your information: Lamarck’s full name is Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet Lamarck.

Written by Hanner

March 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm

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