Question about Naked Ladies

Jane McGary
Fri, 21 Dec 2007 10:30:10 PST
David askedm

>There is a botanical word I’m looking for ­ it’s something like gradient, 
>but I don’t think that’s the word.  It is used when referring to a species 
>with a broad distribution which has one form at one end of its 
>distribution and a very different form at the other end.  The two extreme 
>forms are sometimes considered separate species.  But when the 
>distribution is continuous and every intermediate form is found and there 
>is no bar to interbreeding, this special word is used, and the population 
>is considered a single species with disparate extreme forms

This is called a continuum. The same term is used in linguistics to 
describe a series of dialects of a language, the adjacent ones of which may 
be mutually intelligible, but the extremes of which may not be.

Jane McGary

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