Within the information appearing in the media communication is common to find the term “endemic”, “invasive species” in danger of extinction.” This diversity of concepts suggests the need to clarify the real meaning of this word.
A term that serves to classify living beings
Biology needs a conceptual system to classify the diversity of living things. The term is a concept that biology uses to group individuals in function of their appearance. However, the specific physical similarities of two individuals are not enough to consider them to be the same species. It is referred to when two different living individuals can reproduce with each other.
As a general rule, the individuals that form a species share virtually identical vital forms and functions.
The first classification of species was carried out by Aristotle, in the 4th century BC and also in the 18th century, so the Swedish naturalist Linneo introduced a classification system that is still in use. Its classification model is known as the binomial system. It consists in defining a species combining two elements: the generic and the individual of each living being. The two aspects form the scientific name of a being, for example, humans are of the homo sapiens species because they belong to the hominid family, but they form a specific group, the sapiens. This binary designation is universal and allows the scientific community to understand using a single definition. The nomenclature used to species is applied to any living being (animals, plants, bacteria and viruses).
Finally, it should be noted that the general concept of species can be subdivided. Thus, subspecies are groups of individuals that belong to a common species, but that have some particularities, for example, the tiger belongs to the species Pantera tigris, but there are also other species such as the Bengal Tiger, the Malay Tiger and the Tiger Siberian.
Although Linneo contributed a model for classifying species, the theory about their development was provided by naturalist Charles Darwin in the 19th century. The foundation of his theory can be summarized as follows: populations of living beings evolve over generations and species diversity appears as a process of natural selection.
Nature selects the most useful physical traits for an individual’s adaptation , and the individual mutations that manage to adapt to the environment are the ones that finally end up imposing themselves among the members of a species.