Re: Common Names

Subject: Re: Common Names
From: Ronald Orenstein <>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 09:05:33 -0400
>I beg your pardon, but I thought that two species couldn't interbreed,
>and that if they DID manage, that the offspring would be infertile?

Actually, the biological species definition does not require infertility of
hybrids or an actual genetic incompatibility - only a situation in which the
species in the wild DO not interbreed under normal circumstances.  In fact
closely-related species may produce infertile hybrids while more
distantly-related ones do not.  Of course since evolution is a continuous
process the boundary between absolute non-hybridization and broad admixture is
fluid, with many intermediates.

Hybridization, even in the wild, even between birds belonging to different
genera, is not that rare in some bird families such as ducks, hummingbirds and
birds of paradise.  Of course bird breeders have ben deliberately breeding
hybrid macaws, cockatoos and other parents for decades. 
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          

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