18 December 2014

Celebrate diversity: speciation in the lab

One of the stock criticisms of evolution is that new species have never been seen to be created. There are plenty of examples, and one of the more recent was the creation of a new lizard species in the lab, back in 2011. I wrote a bit about about it before. At the time, it was not given a species name.

Now, a new paper by Cole and colleagues has come out on that species, and given it a new monicker, Aspidoscelis neavesi. This is a classic taxonomic paper, really, with lots of descriptions and diagnostic criteria and locations of type speciments. It is interesting in that it grapples with the question of how to deal with hybrid lineages in a taxonomic sense, which has also been a problem with Marmorkrebs.

Carl Zimmer reports on this, and talks a bit about the taxonomic puzzles:

Aspidoscelis neavesi also raises a special puzzle, Dr. Hillis noted, because it emerged over and over again. Dr. Baumann and his colleagues have now successfully produced fertile hybrids of Aspidoscelis inornata and Aspidoscelis exsanguis dozens of times from different parents. Since each lineage comes from different parents, they could arguably be considered separate species, not just a new one.


Cole CJ, Taylor HL, Baumann DP, Baumann P. 2014. Neaves' whiptail lizard: the first known tetraploid parthenogenetic tetrapod (Reptilia: Squamata: Teiidae). Breviora 539: 1-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.3099/MCZ17.1

External links

The Strange Tale of a New Species of Lizard
Related posts

Celebrate diversity: Instant whiptail!

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