The Concept of a Species
A species is a generally distinctive population that share a common gene pool and capable of interbreeding and producing offspring. The modern concept of species does not mean that all individual members of species are precisely alike.
Similarities in anatomical, physiological, or behavioral characteristics do not determine whether a population constitue a species. The final criterion for classifying species is always reproduction.
Directions: Examine the row for Species in Table 1 and answer the guide questions below. Write your answer on a separate sheet of paper.
Table 2. Systemic Classification of Human, Dog, Fox, Cat, and Lion
- Which is the lowest category in the system of classification?
Species. It is the lowest level of taxonomic hierarchy.
- What is the species name of a dog? What is the species name of a fox?
Familiaris, the species’ name of a fox is vulpes.
- Which organisms are most closely related? Why?
Dog and fox because they differ only on their species’ name.
- Can a dog and a fox interbreed?
- Can a dog and a fox produce fertile offspring? Why?.
They cannot produce fertile offspring because thy are not members of the same species.
1. Why is it important to understand the concept of species?
An understanding of what species are and how to identify them is critical, both for biologists and for the general public. Biological diversity is being lost as species go extinct, and it is only by understanding species that we can shape the social, political, and financial forces that affect conservation efforts.