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Size and Extinction (fwd)



Michael D. Miller wrote:
> 
> On Mon, 17 Feb 1997, Larry wrote:
> 
> > All species eventually
> > become extinct, and that extinction does not necessarily equate with
> > failure.
> I'm not so sure that extinction is not a failure.  It seems, no matter 
> how catastrophic the event might be, that extinction is the inability to 
> ADAPT to the changing situations.  I think that insects give us a very 
> good look at what is successful and what is not.  Granted, though, some 
> extinct species were very successful, but it was their failure to adapt 
> that made them the target for extinction, whether they were being forced 
> to adapt quickly or within a long period of time.
> 
        Extinction IS failure.  Your definition is exactly on the mark.  
Everything evolves while it lives, adapting to changes in the surrounding 
environment (or just hanging out if it is a really good design).  If it 
can't adapt it dies.  If it can it lives.  The idea that everything dies 
is different in a phylogenetic sense than in an ontogenetic one.  If a 
species dies, it means something went wrong, not that it reached the end 
point in a long and successful campaign.



-- 
__________________________
Josh Smith
Department of Geology
University of Pennsylvania
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