DNA proves it, say researchers. From ScienceDaily:
New research examining the DNA of North American mammoths challenges the way we categorize a species. Several species of mammoth are thought to have roamed across the North American continent. The new study results show that while mammoths clearly evolved differences in their physical appearance to deal with different environments, it did not prohibit them from cross-breeding and producing healthy offspring. Paper. (public access) – Dan Fisher et al. Mammuthus Population Dynamics in Late Pleistocene North America: Divergence, Phylogeography and Introgression. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, April 2016 DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2016.00042
A species can be defined as a group of similar animals that can successfully breed and produce fertile offspring. By using differences in the size and shape of their fossilized teeth, a number of North American mammoth species have been identified. But, some scientists are not confident this method of species categorization tells the whole story.
“Species boundaries can be very blurry. We might find differences in features of the teeth or skeleton that closely correspond to what we think are real species boundaries. But other features may not correspond to those boundaries, suggesting that what we formerly regarded as separate species are in fact not at all,” explains Hendrik Poinar, a Professor at McMaster University in Canada…
So, while mammoths clearly evolved differences in their physical appearance to deal with different environments, it did not prohibit them from cross-breeding and producing healthy offspring. More.
Determining what species are is coming to seem more and more like staking out a land claim on a snowbank.
Re speciation in particular: It’s no longer enough to just put enquirers down by saying “Everyone knows that the concept of speciation has been a mess for centuries!”
As an answer, it’s right up there in flashing neon lights with “Everyone knows that the cops in this town have been psycho for decades!”
No wonder even Templeton is rethinking evolution, as it is propounded and taught
The cause of the mammoths’ extinction remains a mystery the authors say.
See also: “Speciation” means what exactly? No one can define it but it is the basis of Darwinian evolution. ”
Templeton rethinking evolution, looking for non-Darwin solutions
Follow UD News at Twitter!