Image via WikipediaSometimes I see that people arrive on my blog by typing the above question in a search engine.
Are men and women different species ?
First of all : what is a species? This is not so simple. According to wikipedia, a species is “a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring“. It is clear that this definition only holds for organisms which reproduce sexually. For the others, there are appaprently other words.
Moreover, in an interesting paper, Ernst Mayr points out that a species is not just a man-made unit of classification of animals, but a concrete phenomenon of nature : a species is “… principal unit of evolution and it is impossible to write about evolution, and indeed about almost any aspect of the philosophy of biology, without having a sound understanding of the meaning of biological species“.
The fact that men and women can have fertile children make them one and the same species. No doubt about it.
And what about all the differences between them ? This is nothing special in the animal world. Look at the birds : a lot of species have dull-coloured females and brightly coloured males.
The praying mantid female is much bigger than the male, she even bites his head off right before copulation !
But what if with all the technology, women will not need a man any more to have children ? No big deal. It is not because they do not interbreed that they can not ! If John has no relation whatsoever with Mary and consequently they do not have any children together, does that mean that they are different species? No, it is not that because they do not that they can not !