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The Word



> >        That's not how I understood the question; the original poster was
> >asking about the term for organisms that are the *end result* of
> >convergent evolution.  For example, "The marsupial mole, the golden mole,
> >and the true moles are _______, and they got that way through convergent
> >evolution."

Yes, that's how I posed the question. Suggestions so far are:

Homologue: but my dictionary (Chamber's) gives examples of homologous objects 
such as a whale's flipper, bird's wing and man's arm ("that which has a similar 
form"), which is not what I'm looking for. Also, there is an implication of 
common descent.

A homomorph is defined "as a thing having the same form as another, especially 
if essentially different", so that's pretty close.

Confaciate: sounds near but I can't yet find in in my dict. 

Analogue: is pretty close, but is defined as that which.....has a similar 
function, as opposed to homologue". So no,

Avatar: apart from the Hindu aspects, defined as "incarnation, supreme 
glorification of any principal". I don't like this 'cos it seems to convey that 
it is one thing which is essentially unchanging (to me, any way)

My choice goes to "homoplast, homoplastic" first proposed by Chip Pretzman. 
Defined in my dict. as "similar in structure and development owing to parallel 
or convergent evolution but not descended from a common source". Spot on!

Thanks for all your help, I'll close the subject there. Incidentally, I need 
this word to describe computer applications having the same function and 
similar 
form, inhabiting the same hardware, but not derived from each other or a common 
parent. A bit like Micorsoft Word, and WordPerfect.

> no way to tell what the drinking posture of high shouldered sauropods was. 

It was suggested that elephant-like legs don't lend themselves to being bent. I 
know it's a different scale but elephants do not seem to have problems 
kneeling, 
lying down, sitting, standing on hind legs, front legs, one back leg (OK they 
grunt a bit). Go to any circus and see  (yuk).

> > Indeed.  But I believe the point that Stan was trying to make is that 
> > geese, as the most terrestrial members of an otherwise aquatic family, 
> > likely did not evolve their long necks *for the purpose of grazing* but 
> > that they are "left over" from a previous existence feeding from the 
> > bottoms of ponds.

Geese round our way graze fields in _winter_, when aquatic plants are mostly 
non-existant. In summer they feed in water, as any sensible long necked duck 
does.

>      As far as I know, there is no known Mesozoic equivalent for 
> grasses.  Undergrowth yeah, but no uniform ground cover like grasses are 
> today.  Would this have prevented problems for other plants via heavy 
> erosion?  Probably a dumb question.

Isn't it the plants themselves that produce the topsoil (my geomorphology is 
rusty here)? So without ground cover plants, how could there be topsoil to 
erode?  On the other hand, you don't find much grass in woodland, and yet the 
soil does not seem to erode much.


martin