Abstract

In 1980, Henri Tintant advocated the usefulness of the biological species concept in paleontology. At this time, this concept was still accepted by many neontologists, but it was already rather severely criticized by some others. In fact, a lot of new concepts appeared in the course of the following two decades. While a few ones are mere adjustments of the biological concept, for instance taking in account ecological criteria, in such a way that it could be applied to clonal organisms, some others, which were developed in connexion with the cladistic theory of taxonomy, are truly new from a conceptual point of view. The diagnosable version of the phylogenetic species concept is somewhat reminiscent of Simpson’s evolutionary species concept, since it accepts phyletic speciation as well as survival of the stem species after a cladogenetic event. One of its more criticizable features, from a cladistic point of view, is that the species are not necessarilly monophyletic. On another hand, according to the monophyly version of the phylogenetic species concept, species are recognized rather subjectively as monophyletic taxa revealed by some previous cladistic analysis dealing with operational taxonomic units.

A consensus on the definition of species cannot be expected, since all concepts related to the biological one are founded on population grouping on the basis of potentially identical evolutionary fates, while those which are related to cladistic taxonomy are exclusively concerned with historical features.

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