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Re: gigantism as liability
> The article's authors count gigantism as
> some sort of achievement...one that mammals have been unable
> to attain.
This was limited to terrestrial mammals right? Blue Whales are the obvious
exception, being the largest living things known ever, correct?
With the advantages previously mentioned of living off of poor food
(plankton/krill) and relative freedom from predation.
I doubt this has anything to do with mammals, and more with suitable ecological
Mammals are the dominant terrestrial animals, but aren't the only ones, no
other extant terrestrial lineages show gigantism.
Dicynodonts got pretty big in the Triassic didn't they? Mammals certainly are
better adapted to large size, at least concerning posture -erect limbs will
support weight better, yet it seems previous synapsids became larger than the
I wouldn't be surprised if one were to take certain mammalian lineages, and
somehow put them back in the triassic, that those lineages would evolve towards
But I think that niche on land has been closed for now, or at least a niche for
a suitable transitional form to lead to the occupation of a gigantism niche.
Could pack hunting behavior be a recent development to explain it?
Is there something limiting a larger predator from being viable? such that
large mammals like Hippos, Elephants, Rhino's, etc are under minimal selection
for increased size?
Such animals suffer minimal predation - adult elephants are really only
threatened by packs of lions if they are seperated from the herd - which means
things probably weren't going well for the elephant anyway.
> Bigger is more awesome, and therefore better.
> All right-thinking people will immediately see the truth of this.