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Re: pineal gland notes (specialization)



Despite my general agreement with the large body size theory, I  
actually don't think that it's fair to say large = specialized. In  
fact, it seems to me that it's more difficult to be specialized to  
the degree that you are large. Suppose, for example, that you are  
relatively large and eat nectar for a living. Well, because of the  
increased absolute rate of consumption that goes along with large  
size, it seems to me you would have to "settle" for any old flower  
you can get your proboscis on, whereas a smaller animal might be able  
to specialize one on kind of flower or another. More to point, it  
seems to me that really large mammals (the only living analogs of  
large dinosaurs that we have) DON'T tend to be specialists.  
Elephants, for example, seem to eat virtually any plant matter they  
come across, including even bark! Other large animals like rhinos and  
hippos don't seem to be particularly choosy apart from preferring  
browse to graze or vice versa, and large carnivores like lions and  
grizzlies will eat any animal they can catch (and crack open -  
tortoises rule!).

My point is that secondary effects of large body size like low  
population sizes and intrinsic rates of population increase are  
probably more relevant here than specialization per se. Care to  
comment, Stan?