Interesting on island evolution


Pygmy mammoths and all that.

The important point to take away though is that island evolution is very different indeed from not island evolution. Which rather makes EO Wilson\’s estimations of extinction rates, derived as they are from island evolution, something of a nonsense, eh?

2 thoughts on “Interesting on island evolution”

  1. How small do you have to be to be an island in the sense meant? Smaller than Australia, presumably, or Greenland. Smaller than New Guinea or Sumatra or Madagascar or Borneo? Smaller than South or North Island New Zealand, or Cuba or Ireland? At what size does the effect become really noticeable?

  2. The effect is due to the absence of predators – in the presence of predators it might be adaptive to be big enough to fight them off – like a hippopotamus – or small enough to hide from them – like a mouse. If mice and hippos reach an island, but cats don’t, they may evolve into giant mice and dwarf hippos.

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