MadSci Network: Evolution

Re: Please could you explain these puzzling aspects of Natural Selection?

Date: Wed May 9 22:13:39 2001
Posted By: David B. Hull, Ph.D., Faculty, CIS/TCM, DeVry Institute of Technology
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 985448045.Ev

Hi Neil,

This is a tricky question since it is hard
to distinguish between "armchair anthropology"
and science. Please note that originally I was
an anthropologist. 

You really need to read some of Stephen Jay Gould's
masterful works on Darwin and Evolution.  He deals
with a lot of these seemingly difficult subjects.

As a short answer, Dodos probably became flightless because
selection pressure on a small, remote island was against
flight. I can hazard a guess that flying birds got literally
blown away, and their flightless cousins stayed to breed. 
Here's a reference on Dodos

The deer question is even more interesting since it is
specifically addressed in Gould's book - Ever Since Darwin!
here's a reference for big antlers!

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