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Shannon's picture

Imagining Clumpy Diversity...

Continuing to flow with my theme of curiosity from last week, the subject of clumpy diversity pops into my head from our last class. We know that it is because of clumpy diversity that certain organisms can never possess a certain blend of characteristics (for example, an organism that has an exoskeleton and a dorsal nervous system -- no, no!).... but it is always fun to be curious...

Imagine: a jellyfish, a spineless Cnidarian, with an exoskeleton similar to that of an insect. It's crazy, I know, but think about how that protective structure/support would alter the lifestyle of that animal... Would it be as easily adaptable for their water homes? Would their "sting" play as much of a vital role as it once had?

Imagine a big, heterotrophic plant (besides the Venus fly trap) -- basically a plant that relies on other plants for its food or a plant that eats other organisms that eat plants. How would our world be different given this situation? The entire concept of the food chain would be thrown into a tizzle. Animals, such as insects, would then not only have to worry about larger animals eating them, but they would also need to watch out for those organism-eating plants -- and not risk their lives by trying to eat those plants OYE VEY! How complicated!

My point to these examples is that even the smallest alteration to an organism has severe consequences. There is no such thing as only 1 evolutionary change that occurs within a species or population. 1 major change triggers a "domino effect" of other minor changes/ complications within an organism's adaptation and ability to survive.



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