Race vs Species

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Orleander, May 19, 2011.

  1. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Are there any different races of animals or are they all species and humans are the only ones why have different races?
     
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  3. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    Race is archaic in biology. It is synonymous with subspecies.
    All humans belong to one subspecies (Homo sapiens sapiens).
     
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  5. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    oh, didn't know that. So the human race is divided how?
     
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  7. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    It isn't. Not biologically anyway.
     
  8. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    So I am genetically the same as pygmy people of Africa or the Aztecs of South America?
     
  9. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    Not the same. But there isn't enough genetic difference to class you as different subspecies.
     
  10. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    but there is in cats?
     
  11. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    I would think that 'race' in cats is not used in a biological manner but rather like it's used with people. Separation based on superficial differences.
     
  12. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    “Race” may have had some scientific usage in times gone by, but in today's era of genomics it is seen as a qualitative human sociological construct, not a quantitative scientific concept. There is a robust discussion of this topic in a thread of the same name in Human Science.


    Here is my post on the subject from that thread:

     
  13. 1337spb Registered Member

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    If you are a pygmy or an Aztec then...yes!
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Yes, but not the way you're thinking. The cat species, Felis silvestris, has several subspecies. The subspecies that was (and is) native to North Africa is F. silvestris lybica. This is the subspecies that self-domesticated when the Neolithic culture of Egypt began growing into a civilization and invented granaries to store larger quantities of food. Granaries attract rodents, large populations of rodents attract cats, and the townspeople were happy to have some help keeping the rodents from eating their food and pooping in it.

    Just as had already happened with dogs, domesticated cats were spread by trade with neighboring tribes; the domestication process was not repeated in multiple locations. All domestic cats are F. silvestris lybica, not members of any other subspecies. In fact some geneticists see evidence that all cats are descended from a very small group of original domestics, perhaps as few as five. (All dogs are similary descended from a very small number of domestic wolves.)

    So yes, there are subspecies of cats, but all domestic cats are members of the same subspecies. There is not enough difference in the DNA of the various "breeds" of domestic cats to identify them as subspecies.

    Wolves, on the other hand, have not separated into subspecies. However, dog DNA has differentiated sufficiently from wolf DNA (12,000 years of domestication vs. 9,000 for cats) that wolf and dog are now regarded as separate subspecies: Canis lupus lupus and C. lupus familiaris.
     
  15. DNA_demon Registered Member

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    Races or Species

    The definition for species I have most often heard is a population of organisms that can breed and have viable offspring.

    A donkey and horse are different species because their offspring are sterile. All humans can interbreed, so we are all one species.

    Races are just variations within species. I suppose instead of dog breeds, you could call them dog races. Although that sounds funny haha.


    Jarred
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2011
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    That doesn't work. There are an enormous number of species that can interbreed and have viable offspring.

    An example I often bring up as an aviculturist is the black-headed grosbeak of western North America and the rose-breasted grosbeak of the east. Neither is a forest-dweller so their habitats were separated by the gigantic forest along the Mississippi River. European colonists and their descendants chopped down the forest and replaced it with farms and orchards, growing fruit that both species regard as Christmas candy. After flocking together, a few of the more adventurous individuals decided to try inter-species dating. The hybrids were fertile and eventually made their way across the Rocky Mountains. They are now seen in California.

    Now that coyotes have spread into Canada, they're interbreeding with the wolf population.

    For that matter, as I've posted in this thread, species which aren't even members of the same genus are sometimes capable of interbreeding and establishing bloodlines. We're into at least the tenth generation of cat-ocelot hybrids.
    In other languages they often use the same word. A "race" or "breed" is subordinate to a subspecies, which are populations with genetic differences that remain separated, usually by geography but sometimes by choice of food or adaptation to weather. Dog breeds have to be physically restrained or they'll hybridize without a moment's hesitation.
     
  17. Acitnoids Registered Senior Member

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    I'm glad I came across this thread. A few days ago I was having a conversation with a guy at work and he insisted that humans were not animals. I couldn't help but laugh at him. I tried to explain what I knew about taxonomic rank, like what a kingdom was, how humans were classified under the genus Homo and how we were the only living species within that genus which was called sapiens - hence the name Homo sapien. Anyway, this got me thinking. Why aren't humans classified in terms of subspecies? Why don't we call Native North Americans Homo sapien el norablo americanus, or aboriginals Homo sapien australasicus? This caused me to look up a bunch of things such as how an organism is recognized as a seperate species and what the difference was between race and species. I found my answer after reading this link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(classification_of_humans)
    This link goes through the historic classification of modern Homo sapiens, the pros and cons of racial categorization and the modern debate over human speciation. It led me to conclude that the terms "race" and "Homo subspecies" are best described as social constructs. The most compelling argument comes from the Fixation index, a statistical analysis used to compare the genetic differences between populations for individual genes, or for many genes simultaneously. Personally, I just don't think there was enough time in geographic isolation for our common Homo sapien ancestor to have branched off into separate species, but I could be wrong. DNA sequencing is a new technology.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  18. Acitnoids Registered Senior Member

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    Let's fast forward 30,000 years. Will "Homo genius" conclude that Homo sapien sapien were actually subspecies of the Homo genus based on our fossil record? Persuming they dig up our graveyards and analyze our skeletal remains.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's rather unlikely that a mammalian speciation will occur in a mere 30,000 years. It took the polar bear almost 100,000 before the teeth reached their current configuration.

    And humans aggressively resist natural selection anyway. Do you doubt that women are lined up at the sperm bank hoping to have the child of a certain quadriplegic physicist? Assuming that civilization does not collapse, we may be the final species of hominid.
    They won't have to do that. We've mapped our own genome and it's out there in the cloud for all eternity.
     
  20. Acitnoids Registered Senior Member

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    :facepalm: Fraggle, I'm not at all surprised that this totally went over your head

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    . The only human trait that seems to be evolving is our intellect. As you should know, Homo sapien means "wise man" or "knowing man" so "Homo genius" was a bad attempt at a joke (I did put it in parentheses). If it helps, choose any timeframe you'd like.
    We may be the final species of hominid? That's a big assumption. What are you basing this statement on? Certainly not the past. The way I see it, what we now call race will eventually merge together. We can already see this trend right here in the United States. Sure, it will take a long time and there will always be some semblance of race but our current demographics will not look the same 30,000 years from now.
    You mean our present day library of Alexandria. The only way this knowledge will survive with any certainty is to engrave it in stone and then remove that stone from the elements. Just think 5 1/4 floppy discs and 8 tracks. Digital media is useless without something to read it for us.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  21. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    What we now call race has no biological merit whatsoever.
    'Race' is archaic and it means 'subspecies'. However, all people alive today are all of the same subspecies. So the merging of our 'races' will not make any difference in the way of evolving us into a new species, or even a subspecies.
     
  22. Acitnoids Registered Senior Member

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    I totally agree. Read post #14 of this thread.
     
  23. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    If I'm not mistaken modern man is of the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens. It's just that we are the only subspecies so it's ussually just shortened to Homo sapiens.
    How do you propose that speciation will occur from mixing 'human races'?
     

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