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Encyclopedia > Cope's rule

In evolutionary biology, Cope's rule states that population lineages tend to increase body size over geological time. It is named for Edward Drinker Cope. The horse family, Equidae, is often used to illustrate the rule, with small animals evolving into larger ones; but critics such as Stephen Jay Gould point out a number of shortcomings of this example. Evolutionary biology is a subfield of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication, and diversity over time. ... Edward Drinker Cope Edward Drinker Cope (July 28, 1840–April 12, 1897) was an American paleontologist and comparative anatomist. ... Species - Donkey - African Wild Ass - Domestic Horse - Wild Horse - Grevys Zebra - Onager - Kiang - Plains Zebra - Cape Mountain Zebra - Hartmanns Mountain Zebra Equidae is the family of horse-like animals, order Perissodactyla. ... Stephen Jay Gould Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. ...


Cope's rule is interesting because it appears to make the apparently paradoxical suggestion that possession of large body size favours the individual but renders the clade more susceptible to extinction. A clade is a term belonging to the discipline of cladistics. ... In biology and ecology, extinction is the ceasing of existence of a species or group of taxa. ...


Writing in Science, Blaire Van Valkenburgh of UCLA and coworkers state: Science is the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). ... The University of California, Los Angeles, popularly known as UCLA, is a public, coeducational university situated in the neighborhood of Westwood within the city of Los Angeles. ...

Cope's rule, or the evolutionary trend toward larger body size, is common among mammals. Large size enhances the ability to avoid predators and capture prey, enhances reproductive success, and improves thermal efficiency. Moreover, in large carnivores, interspecific competition for food tends to be relatively intense, and bigger species tend to dominate and kill smaller competitors. Progenitors of hypercarnivorous lineages may have started as relatively small-bodied scavengers of large carcasses, similar to foxes and coyotes, with selection favoring both larger size and enhanced craniodental adaptations for meat eating. Moreover, the evolution of predator size is likely to be influenced by changes in prey size, and a significant trend toward larger size has been documented for large North American mammals, including both herbivores and carnivores, in the Cenozoic.
—(Science, Vol 30 DOI:10.1126/science.1102417 ) Orders Subclass Monotremata Monotremata Subclass Marsupialia Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Microbiotheria Dasyuromorphia Peramelemorphia Notoryctemorphia Diprotodontia Subclass Placentalia Xenarthra Dermoptera Desmostylia Scandentia Primates Rodentia Lagomorpha Insectivora Chiroptera Pholidota Carnivora Perissodactyla Artiodactyla Cetacea Afrosoricida Macroscelidea Tubulidentata Hyracoidea Proboscidea Sirenia The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals primarily characterized by the presence of mammary... This snapping turtle is trying to make a meal of a Canada goose, but the goose is too wary. ... Prey can refer to: Look up Prey in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A prey animal eaten by a predator in an act called predation. ... For other uses, see Reproduction (disambiguation) Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. ... This article is about the atmospheric phenomenon. ... The lion is a well-known, truly carnivorous member of the order Carnivora. ... Harvestman eating the tail of a five-lined skink The word scavenger, in zoology, refers to animals that consume already dead organic life-forms. ... A Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) A fox is a member of any of 27 species of small omnivorous canids. ... Binomial name Canis latrans Say, 1823 The coyote (Canis latrans, meaning barking dog) also prairie wolf [2]) is a member of the Canidae (dog) family and a relative of the domestic dog. ... The Cenozoic Era (sen-oh-ZOH-ik; sometimes Caenozoic Era in the United Kingdom) meaning new life (Greek kainos = new + zoe = life) is the most recent of the three classic geological eras. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a permanent identifier (permalink) given to a World Wide Web file or other Internet document so that if its Internet address changes, users will be redirected to its new address. ...

Cope's rule has come under sustained criticism, including the observation that counterexamples to Cope's rule are common throughout geological time. Critics also point out that the so-called rule is worthless without a mechanism; palaeontologist Johnathan R. Wigner has stated that "Cope's Rule is a twisted version of the ... historical-narrative (that is, a just-so story). It takes a perceived historical trend and tries to explain it". A paleontologist carefully chips rock from a column of dinosaur vertebrae. ... A just-so story is a term used in academic anthropology, biological sciences, and social sciences for a narrative explanation for a cultural practice or a biological trait or behavior of humans or animals which is unverifiable and unfalsifiable. ...


 
 

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