Variation seems to be a latent word among geoscientists. The acknowldgement of variation raises problems with data interpretation, hinders attempts to incorporate data from living organisms into computer-generated models and, above all, requires more interpretation (and imaginative?) deliberation to explain the data at hand. Maybe this vision is too myopic. Maybe variation can be used to our scientific long-term advantage and should now be recognized and discussed rather than simply ignored.

Living organisms do not submit to our attempts to neatly categorize them. Nature experiments with life on Earth through evolutionary processes affecting the organism from genome to physiognomy. The...

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