the more advanced species

Antonio Guia guia at CC.UManitoba.CA
Sat Feb 19 00:00:02 EST 1994


On Sat, 19 Feb 1994, W. H. Cade wrote:
> : It has always been my belief that ALL species continue to evolve through
> : the course of time, such that the paramecium is just as advanced as a
> : human in terms of evolutionary adaptation to its environment.  The only
> : it deals with its environment.  This would mean that man did not come from
> : ape, and ape did not come from monkey, etc on down the line, but instead
> : man and ape both came from a common, more primitive ancestor, which shared
> : enough traits with both man and ape to have been the source of the lineage.
> : -tg
> I think advanced is a poor term and successful is more appropriate to
> and thus more widely distributed than some vert groups.  I agree with the
> beginning of tg's post.
> Success of species can be measured in various ways, but two favorites are
> biomass and more importantly, number of species.  Number of species is
> probably correlated with longevity over evolutionary time.  The insects
> are, of course, the most successful by most measures. There are also lots
> of nematodes, but species diversity is much lower than insects.  After
> all, it their plant (the ones with 6 legs)
> whc
(shortenned for brevity, and for 2400 baud people)

Biomass and population are heavily dependent on gerundity and longevity. 
Merely due to gerundity of some insects, they would not need all that much
evolutionary time to become the largest biomass.   Insects reproduce in
such large numbers and so often that most of the offspring do not survive
merely because of self-competition.  This also makes evolutionary
adaptation work much faster since survival of the fittest is exactly
survival of the FITTEST!   Given an unoccupied niche and an insect which
can even reproduce by parthenogenesis (i think that's the word for it),
the insect population will likely completely fill that niche within a few
years (depending on the dispersal mechanisms).  

Would the conclusion then be that insects are the most "successful" species?

-tg





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