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Re: Vegavis gen. nov. - new anseriform in today's Nature




On Fri, 21 Jan 2005, Allan Edels wrote:

> I'd like to comment on the "dumb luck" matters idea.  If nothing else
> (besides the absolute horror and terrible loss of humanity), the recent
> tsunami should show the presence of dumb luck in a disaster.  You had
> people, side-by-side, similar ages and physical conditions - one dies and
> the other lives.  Just dumb (bad!) luck.  You had people swept out to sea
> who survived for days hanging onto uprooting, floating palm trees; and
> others who were killed when the room they were in was squashed by the mud
> and water, several miles inland.

And yet, there was absolutely no filtering: _all_ species survived!

> IMHO, the variations in which terrestrial animals survived and which animals
> didn't - which correspond with the extinction of sea creatures - large and
> small (note that some obvious exceptions exist in this realm as well
> [sharks, etc.]) - point to some sort of global scale disaster.  Dumb luck
> matters.

I don't know why.  Most extinctions for which we have actual
_evidence_ point to species' interactions.

> If we were discussing whether or not terrestrial (n-a) dinosaurs met with a
> mass extinction - AND NO OTHER GENERA WERE AFFECTED, then John Bois'
> arguments for the gradual elimination of dinosaurs by niche usurpation and
> competition/predation by birds - would hold a great deal of merit.  As these
> events do NOT stand alone, the discussion is interesting, but lacking full
> conviction. (To an informed observer - or to me, at the least).

I'm not sure that we _know_ of other terrestrial genera that were
affected.  Curry and others have commented on the _lack_ of obvious
differences from one horizon to the next, i.e., K--->T

> Primary causation is often difficult to ascribe to one thing or another -
> especially in regards to cause of death.

Agreed.  But i would argue that something more imperative than a one-time
knockout punch was going on since the body plan (big egg layer) has not
really re-evolved with any success.