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FW: A Perspective on Cope's Rule
In response to Michael Milbocker:
> The smallest animals evolve
at one or two orders of magnitude faster pace than the largest animals.
Isn't part of the reason for needing huge litters because many fewer of the
offspring live to sexual maturity? Otherwise populations would be growing
exponentially, overwhelming available resources. If so many offspring die,
then their rate of evolution won't keep pace with the rate of producing
offspring. The rate of evolution wouldn't be so wildly different from that of
>The subgroup that goes on to increasing size rapidly experiences
evolutionary stasis by virtue of higher sexual maturity, fewer litters and
Stasis seems like a very strong word. It would only be a halt in size
increase, while the critter may continue to change in a hundred other ways
(thus retaining the diversity that you say it would lack). Stasis ala
Eldridge ain't happening here. Many VP'ers fight the reality of stasis anyway
(I don't, but many do).
>Hence, when the
inevitable extinction event occurs, the large animals lack the genetic
diversity to cope (no pun intended).
Well, that would explain why the sauropods were so unsuccessful, correct? ;-)
I do not accept that size is such a disadvantage. There are numerous
>I'm also suggesting that "convergent" evolution is far more
common than suspected, and results from extinction events that return life
over and over to the same perpetually underlying, fast-evolving, gene pool.
This sounds almost like recapitulation. Are you really going there?
Can you explain yourself more clearly?
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Section of Vertebrate Paleontology
4400 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213