Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Evolution: Education and Outreach

Volume

3

Publication Date

1-1-2010

First Page

89

Last Page

98

DOI

10.1007/s12052-009-0193-5

Abstract

A clear understanding of the term "species" is fundamental to the subject of evolution. However, introductory textbooks often fail to address this topic until one of the later chapters, after having used the term species in all preceding chapters. Furthermore, definitions of terms critical to a clear understanding of this subject are often vague or absent in chapters on species concepts. We feel the popular notion of a "species problem" has been unnecessarily inflated by this less-than-effective educational approach. Clearly addressing this essential subject at the beginning of a course on evolution will prepare students to learn the details and complexities of evolution. Here we provide the background for an alternative approach to this foundational topic, followed by an outlined lesson plan. We emphasize early introduction of this subject in texts and courses using unambiguous terminology and including the historical development of species concepts.

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