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Re: Size and Extinction (fwd)



Joshua Smith wrote:

> >
>         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.

That means that 99.9% of all life forms were "failures."  

Dinosaurs disappeared BECAUSE they were adaptable.  They radiated out 
gloriously becoming extreme specialists just as you advocate, but weren't 
generic enough to make it when the ol' exploding bolide from outer space 
paid them a call.  

Including such bolides from outer space in the category of "normal 
stresses of evolution" is analogous to saying that you won't buy a car 
because it's not structurally strong enough to withstand meteor impact.  
I think your day-to-day priorities, like the dinosaurs, are a bit 
different.  I personally would not blame you if you opted for, say, fuel 
efficiency or boss woofers or great 0 to 60, and would think asteroid-car 
man was a bit odd.  Wouldn't you?