SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIES AND SUBSPECIES
If two groups or populations of a species do not interbreed, over time the genes of one group may become so different from those of the other that they are two distinct subspecies. Scientists suspect that this has happened to orangutans, for example.
If there are two subspecies instead of one species, each subspecies is rarer than the species as a whole. Conservation money often goes to the rarest animals, so orangutans are more likely to get money for conservation if they are two subspecies than if they are one species.
There are many other species that actually may be two or more subspecies but are classified as a single species. New techniques for analyzing genes may resolve some of these questions.
- Case Study on Orangutan
Words in bold italics can be found in the glossary.