I'm fascinated by evolutionary theory and the predictive aspect of it-the notion of an animal entering a strongly divergent state of evolution whereby it is evolving into a new form yet remains suboptimal, and is therefore undergoing rapid morphological change, and the idea that this allows us to project onto possible new variants of life.
To give a past example, the praying mantis is believed to have split from the cockroach around 250M years ago. During this period the mantis developed its upright stance, large range of vision and pronounced raptorial claws, and has seemingly stabilised into this optimal new form over the past 50M+ years.
The interesting thing is that this change could actually have been predicted by analysis of the animals evolutionary history, niche and further available advantageous adaptive forms.
Can someone give a good example of a current animal in this volatile state that we could make accurate projections for?
And please, no trivial answers like "everything is constantly in a state of evolution", I already know that and thats not I'm referring to.