In November 2011 I was watching Chris Packham on TV with my son and the lad asked why something was a new species.
So I emailed him, with two bizarre questions.
They were that everyone has different DNA so how could this constitute identifiable difference?
And the boy also wanted to know if a slight difference in size or colour truly meant a new species.
Chris took the time out to answer and I’ve been a big fan every since.
He replied: “Firstly, you cannot test for a new species with DNA but what you can do is determine how closely related it is to another and learn aboutits potential heritage compared to it.
And with cross referencing you can place a ‘new’ species in context with other ‘known species’ .
“Secondly, colour differences, size, shape, whatever, are only an indication of a ‘new’ species as opposed to variation within a species .
“But if they constantly breed true or are prevented from crossing because say of a geographical or other separation, physical or behavioural, then they may be a significant clue that speciation is in progress.”
It’s this level of passion about his subject, therefore, that I think makes Chris Packham – Wild Night Out! worth a look. He’s on at The Platform Morecambe on July 3/4, The Albert Halls Bolton, on July 5, but first at Colne Muni on Tuesday, March 25.
This show sees him going wild across the country with an entertaining and informative look at some of nature’s most popular and interesting species.
Punctuating his conversational style and irreverent humour will be superb photographs from around the world as well as the UK. There will be time for questions at the end of the show.
Suitable for all the family.
By Alan Burrows