ranking biological success

Robert C. Colgrove robin at cco.caltech.edu
Wed Dec 22 11:06:50 EST 1993

Yesterday's NYT had an article on "The Importance of Being Invertebrate"
citing the enormous numbers of insect species relative to all other phyla.
They also reprt that there is around 55 times as much invertebrate biomass
as human biomass on North America. It struck me that neither of these was
quite fair since number of species may reflect only propensity to speciate
and since weighing the biomass of several phyla (all the creepy crawlies)
against one subspecies (Homo sapiens subsp sapiens) was a stacked choice.
What are the accepted measures of "success" of various biological entities?
Total free energy consumed? Total nucleic acid complexity? Just curious.

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