It appears to be the case that evolution is on the side of larger marine life. This such an important fact that it has become a law of evolutionary biology.
Cope’s Rule has it that animals tend to evolve towards larger frames. Mapping the law lines of evolutionary science is tough business. The processes Nature follows are rather messy and Nature does not mind breaking her own rules.
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Yet now scientists have been able to connect the dots and make sense of some of the patterns found in evolutionary history. As far as the size of the bodies of organisms is concerned, the answer is definitely in the affirmative.
Especially marine life tends towards larger forms, according to a new study. Take the Blue Whale with its gargantuan and massive size. Not only does this strategy allow the creature to eat other creatures but it also helps it not get eaten in return. And besides this the metabolic rate is high and allows the animal to lead an active lifestyle.
There are of course exceptions to this rule. The dinosaurs were very large and today their remnants are the birds which are small and light. But on the whole the trend has been towards the “size is everything” mantra.
Slowly but surely, the majority of the organisms have grown over time from their minuscule ancestors, according to a new Stanford research. Besides this the very forms that have evolved to be bigger and better have also undergone the most extensive biodiversity.
Exceptions such as birds and insects abound and contradict Cope’s Rule at every step though. However, among the many species examined most followed this path towards an escalation of size. And this especially counted in case of the field of marine biology.
Yet even there, there were exceptions such as krill and crayfish which were minute crustaceans. This heuristic of “bigger is better” has become an axiom of the science of life. Evolution it appears is a very wasteful process where each creature is given an opportunity of adapting to changing conditions and leaving behind a larger harbinger.
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If it succeeds the genes get passed on to future generations. And if it fails than it is a case of the dusty road to extinction for the life form. Evolution may be a blind system of proliferation of life forms but it also curtails many of its experiments in blind alleys. The only lesson we can learn from the natural scheme is its unpredictability and chaotic nature.