Here is an unofficial answer...still a good one I think:
Species are human concepts. Linne's Taxonomy
classed plant specie by their reproductive parts, which is a fine choice...
Maybe we should not obsess about specie per se.
The species is not an unchanging thing.
Flows of changes keep occurring throughout time.
The 'E' word's role should be explained thus:
what led to woodpeckers was a flow of CELLULAR changes rather than species creation from another species. The concept of "Species" was invented by humans.
The cellular changes are made by small chemical changes in the coding mechanism -- the DNA in the cell nuclei. These small chemical changes can be caused by
1)external inputs at critical times...inputs such as
exotic chemicals (swamp fermentations, venoms) or high exposures to ultraviolet light,
or 2) a novel recombination of two parents' genetic contributions.
Natural selection did nothing to create a new species. Rather: time, chance, and events occurred in every generation. New forms resulted from just going down the corridor of time with a gradually changing bunch of codes.
What we call "natural selection" is just the
gauntlet of events those codes bumped into. That is a separate topic for another day.
I am convinced the life of the mind is able to
attempt to overcome chance occurrances, if we really try! And where that takes us spiritually
is obviously very important...maybe the most important after all...maybe.