A Conversation for Language and Life - a Perspective on Species
Nbcdnzr, the dragon was slain, and there was much rejoicing Started conversation Jul 18, 2002
Martin Harper Posted Jul 18, 2002
Nbcdnzr, the dragon was slain, and there was much rejoicing Posted Jul 18, 2002
Ste Posted Jul 18, 2002
Thanks for reading my entry!
I think that hybridisation (and hybrid zones) is another issue, but maybe the mule is not such a good example. As it is sterile it really is (evolutionary-speaking) irrelevant.
There are some areas in Southern California and Florida where "Spanglish" is emerging as a mix of English and Spanish that immigrants bring into the country. There's also Mandarin and Cantonese in China, the same written language, but two different spoken languages. Mandarin is spoken in the north and Cantonese in the south. But a huge swathe of China in between can understand both, it is somewhat analogous to a hybrid zone where two diverged species meet and interbreed again.
I personally think species and languages are two sides of the same coin, the same problem.
PaulBateman Posted Jul 19, 2002
There is a slight error with this definition. It's not that individuals can breed to produce offspring. It's if they can breed together to produce FERTILE offspring. A horse and a donkey can interbreed to produce a mule but the mule is sterile (like Tom Cruise allegedly) and hence the horse and donkey are different species. If the mule were fertile then horses and donkeys would be the same species which could be called horkeys (which sounds like a way to get into a brothel), donses or mules. This definition is of course complicated by plants and flowers, but the less said about them the better.
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