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Life's scale reduction
Stephen Hurrell posted the original question, and discussed some of the
responses (01/25/96; 4:35a):
>And of course you are quite right that the key question is:
>> But why no mammals as large as large sauropods?
>Answer that and you're solved the puzzle.
I suggest that there have been no mammals as large as large sauropods
because during the Mesozoic all Mammals were small. Furthermore, there
were no reptiles as large as large sauropods during the Cenozoic because
sauropods became extinct at the end of the Mesozoic. Stated in other
terms, there were no reptiles as large as large sauropods during the
Cenozoic because during the Cenozoic all reptiles were small. (Think
about it!) Can't wait to hear John McLaughlin's thoughts on that! My
point(s) might be considered in relation to this:
>My answer's the same as above. We have to compare like-with-like
>to quantify any scale reduction.
MY question is, How like is like? Are mammals "like" dinosaurs?
(Sort of like "How small is small?")
Actually, I disagree with the basic premise. But, perhaps it just needs
to be restated, as some people seem to think there's something there. I
would be quite surpised, however, if some "Gouldian" (Stephen J.)
commentator hasn't already gone into this.
Speaking of Stephen J. Gould, he favors the notion of "contingency" in
the history of life. For many things, there is no "reason," they just
Norman R. King tel: (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences fax: (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712 e-mail: email@example.com