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Re: Dinosaurs to birds




On Sat, 23 Jan 1999 Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:

> There is no way to predict which lineages will
> survive and diversify and which will become extinct. It is a random process.

Randomness and selection are close to antonymns.  Would you agree that
artificial selection is not random?  Then on what basis is natural
selection random?  Is it just because we are too thick to perceive the
patterns?

But general trends _do_ exist.  Would you argue that cells were not
destined to form endosymbiotic relationships?  I was astounded to read
Gould saying that the relationships between mitochondria and eukaryotic
cells were luck.  I had the chance to ask Lynn Margulis what she thought
of that idea.  No, she said, that sort of thing is always happening and
was bound to happen.

And then we _do_ see progression in many traits. 

Improving flight characteristics in birds.
Increasing brain size in Tertiary carnivores and their prey.
Greater homeostatic control in vertebrates.
Greater parental investment (either pre or post hatching/birth).

I'm not saying that only species that possess these traits will survive.
I am saying, though, that the species that possess these traits may have
done well _because_ they possessed them.  This is not randomness.