Are Dog Breeds Actually Different Species?
Great piece on evolution in action at Scientific America: A dog breeds actually different species?
So here’s the idea you’ve been patiently waiting for: let’s simply say that dog breeds are different species. Take two that Coyne highlights for their differences—the 180-pound English Mastiff and the two-pound Chihuahua. They’re both considered members of Canis lupus familiaris, and in principle artificial insemination could produce some sort of mix or possibly an exploding Chihuahua. But face it, the only shot a male Chihuahua has with a female Mastiff involves rock climbing or spelunking equipment.
Biologists clearly continue to include the two types of dogs within the same species out of modesty. But with creationists fighting evolution education throughout the country, the time calls for bold action. Let’s reassign the trembling, bug-eyed Chihuahua to its own species. Voilà, humans have observed speciation. We could call the new dog C. nervosis. Or C. cantseetheparadis. Or C. canyoupresstwelveformepleasis. Amazingly, right now Chihuahuas are still considered C. lupus familiaris, a subspecies of wolf. And calling a Chihuahua a wolf is like calling someone at the Discovery Institute a scientist.