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Extinction and Evolution and diversification

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Extinction and Evolution and diversification

Postby jayson » Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:55 pm

I have this case study question on which I am working right now, and wanted some of your thoughts.

How is extinction beneficial? How can natural extinction be as much part of evolution as diversification?

I have heard many times that extinction leads to evolution and to much superior species. Here is my explanation:

An ecosystem can only support a specific population before it reaches it maximum carrying capacity. When it does reach its maximum, a natural extinction occurs. Through the extinction period, it eliminates the weaker and vulnerable species and ensures the survival of the "better" specie. Through extinction the population is decreased and life starts all over again. The survived species then evolve into much superior kind.

Well that would support the idea of how extinction leads to evolution, but I can't seem to solve how extinction would lead to diversification? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Postby MrMistery » Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:24 pm

Well, think of a simple case: the extinction of dnasaurs. This lead to an empty space that was taken over by mamals. Research what a fundamental niche and an applied niche are. then you willget the point.

About how extinction leads to diversification.. Hmm.. well,m i would say that when a species dies it's place is either taken by another one, or it's applied niche divided into many new species, thus possibly leading to diversification
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Postby CoolJay221 » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:53 pm

does extinction always mean bad?
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Postby MrMistery » Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:39 pm

extinction=disappearance of a species.
It is not bad or good, it simply happens.
What is happening right now, that the rate of animals becoming extinct is increasing exponentially is bad
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter
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Postby mith » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:51 pm

Extinction is also bad insofar as we dont know what effects it might have. If all domestic cats suddenly became extinct, there's not much of a problem because we already know much of what effects cats have on the environment and on people(pet owners would get dogs :)).
And if say a keystone specie(look it up) started becoming extinct, we'd know something bad was happening to the environment.
But if something obscure became extinct, we would have no idea what was causing it and if it affected humans.
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Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
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Postby David George » Sat Mar 11, 2006 6:23 am

Extinction is not bad at all until it is done because of humans directly or indirectly.
Directly:Killing or poaching for meat,fur hide,bones,etc.
Indirectly:Introducing species into foreign lands,this is minly dangerous in Islands.Spreading of diseases due to the growth of poultry,etc.
Unless extinction doesn't happen due to the ones mentioned above it is good for another race of organisms.If one species dies its space is occupied by another.If the food of one organism dies it may evolve to eat some other organism or it may perish.When a species gets extinct its space has to be occupied by someother hence many different species will fight and the one that is fittest survives here the animal may also evolve.Even introduction of new species leads to evolution.When there is a spread of disease some members of the same species die but some evolve to be resistant against the disease.This is most prominently seen in simle organisms as they can evolve faster.It would have been better if You had posted this topic in the Evolution thread.
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution"
-Theodosius Dobzhansky
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