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Dear Friends,

Recently I received an early morning phone call from an old friend, the
'famous' John Banta, who asked me to attempt to write this to the list
requesting that all of us who enter our recent debates on this list
concerning man`s determination of species and  genera, read a certain
article which was recently published in a popular Scientific Journal.
This article moved John to make a phone call to me, and for those of you
that also may know my friend John, or be even more fortunate to be counted
as a friend of his, you all know that this article which made John actually
make a phone call needs to be searched for, located and studied!    For
those of you who may not know who John Banta is, allow me a few moments to
try to encapsulate this remarkable man (an impossible task, I know!!)--
John lives in W. Florida, where he grows and studies Aroids and many other
rare plants, Asian Gingers being, I believe one of his 'big' ones.   He
makes regular collecting trips to the Orient and South America to obtain new
plants for his growing and breeding experiments, and was a founding member
of the I.A.S.    He also does extensive work in the Anthuirum breeding
field, which greatly assisted the experts in determining the correct
placement of many Anthurium species into their correct 'sections', and is
the 'creator' of several remarkable hybrids.  He is mentioned several times
in Deni Bown`s ground breaking book, 'Aroids, Plants of the Arum Family',
the original issue which is now sadly out of print, but being re-issued in
an updated format at our Sept. meeting in Miami.   ENOUGH---on to the reason
for this letter--

The article was published in the July 2000 Issue of 'Scientific American',
and is titled  "Darwin`s Influence on Modern Thought", by the famous figure
and many time author Ernst Mayer, a 'towering figure in the History of
evolutionary biology'.   John suggested that all of us who like to or choose
to dabble in and give our opinions about species and evolution should, no,
MUST read this article.

I managed to find and copy it at our local Library branch, and after reading
it  must say it does (among many other principals) put forward in easily
understandably form many of the principals that we must use when we enter
into deciding whether a new collection may be judged a new species, or in
fact may only be just a distant 'variation' or 'form' to the SAME species
collected miles or countries away!   In other words, just a variation within
a species that may vary or differ from the original collection ever so
slightly and little by little over distance, so that if one collects
specimens at either end of its broad range, these widely separated specimens
may be judged in error to be separate enough to be different species, but
when judged along the entire distribution, are in fact the exact same

John highlights the last paragraph on Pg.. 81 and continues to the end of
the second paragraph of Pg.. 82, so pay special attention to this portion of
this most interesting article!

A good growing day to all of our many friends out there!


W.P.B., Florida.

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