53

TL;DR: There is a dearth of actual experimental evidence. However: there is at least one study that confirmed the process ([STUDY #7] - Myxococcus xanthus; by Fiegna and Velicer, 2003). Another study experimentally confirmed higher extinction risk as well ([STUDY #8] - Paul F. Doherty's study of dimorphic bird species an [STUDY #9] - Denson K. McLain). ...


22

Things in the paper that strike me as suspicious Associating toxic plant defenses with the Cretaceous Although there continues to be uncertainty about precisely when plants first evolved toxic defenses, this period of angiosperm proliferation would seem to be a strong candidate case. (pg 50) Against this Gleadow and Moller (2014) discuss Cyanogenic ...


20

Rather than talk to the specifics of this idea, which others have already done well, I'll contextualise it as one anti-consensus view among many. Many. Many. The extinction of non-avian dinosaurs is the most publicly well-known part of a much larger systemic event at that time, one of the largest extinction events in the last 500 million years. The ...


15

No, it's not convincing; angiosperms evolved in the middle part of the dinosaurs' reign, not the end, and toxins evolve slowly which gives herbivores a chance to compensate, also conifers can be riddled with toxins just as easily. Lastly, the idea that dinosaurs could not learn taste aversion is ludicrous; it is one of the simplest neurological feats, ...


14

This is technically called Functional extinction. With no viable reproducing population the species will almost certainly become extinct. Note that humans could potentially mess with this through the use of reproductive technologies.


13

First, a shorthand definition of Evolution is heritable change and not 'progress' (which is a rather loaded word). Also, evolution is not 'supposed' to do anything, and can lead to both an increase or a decrease in diversity, since (local) diversity is simply the net result of speciation rate and extinction rate (if we exclude colonization of new species ...


13

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List there are many endangered fungi, but none that are documented to have become extinct within the time frame of interest to you. However, it seems likely that some fungi have gone extinct with their plant hosts — according to the IUCN there have been 133 documented extinctions of plant ...


10

Yes. One example is of a fungus named Prototaxites. It was originally thought to be a tree, but it was a massive, tree-like fungus.


6

The topic you describe is very interesting and known as "species selection." Some traits exist that not only affect the reproductive success of individuals, but also affect the diversification rate of the entire species, either through affecting the extinction rate, the speciation rate, or both. To give you an example, I'll summarize this paper by Goldberg ...


6

For this matter, I'll call it Ecological Extinction. That means you still have an extant population, but the individuals in which you are focusing on do not interact any longer with their surroundings and environment as they should. For ex., they're no longer preying or being predators, they no longer reproduce because effective population (Ne) isn't enough. ...


6

yes, infectious bacteria are a good example, a highly destructive infection may often kill its host before it can spread the disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27114/


6

Do birds descend from dinosaurs? First, it is confusing to say things like Birds descend from dinosaurs Humans descend from monkeys Mammals descend from vertebrates Snakes descend from animals It is much more correct to say Birds are dinosaurs Humans are monkeys Mammals are vertebrates Snakes are animals You should definitely have a look at the post If ...


5

Eliminate Culicidae (mosquitoes) because some of the species transmit virus is a very bad idea. I have used the family name to make you realize there is more than 3500 species of mosquitoes and only a few are responsible for the transmission of disease or virus. First, the male mosquitoes are important pollinators of multiple flowers (here is an example of ...


5

There was actually just such an article in Nature recently. "They don't occupy an unassailable niche in the environment," says entomologist Joe Conlon, of the American Mosquito Control Association in Jacksonville, Florida. "If we eradicated them tomorrow, the ecosystems where they are active will hiccup and then get on with life. Something better or worse ...


5

Relating to your last comment on random fluctuations in survival, a recent theoretical paper by Lee et al. 2011 studies the effect of mating systems on demographic stochasticity in small population. No empirical data there though. Their main conclusion is that polygyny (in relation with sex ratio) can lead to high demographic variance, therefore lowering ...


5

Not a lot of people realize how extreme and how sudden the dinosaur's extinction was. Radiolab did an episode with several geologists about the extinction of the dinosaurs. Basically, when the meteor hit the Earth, a humongous amount of material was ejected into space, and most of it fell back down to the surface all around the planet. As it fell it left an ...


5

Spinosaurs (like Spinosaurus) are currently only known from 112-97 million years ago, although isolated teeth push the origin possibly back to ~150 Mya. At least now, there isn't any definite spinosaur material younger than 97 Mya. So spinosaurs were already extinct when the rest of the non-bird dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, whether ...


5

A commonly used empirical example of species selection (a.k.a clade selection, lineage selection) is pelagic larvae in sessile ocean species. See Maliska et al (2013) for a recent paper discussing this in Tunicata and Jablonski & Hunt (2006) for larval modes in gastropods. The idea is to some extent really intuitive - pelagic larvae means higher ...


5

Basic misunderstand about how one can make sense of nature Nature is not a conscient being (or at least not falsifiable conscient being) trying to optimize the amount of flora or whatever you would like to optimize. There is no conscious will in the processes of evolution, in the course of a meteorite or in the decay rate of some radioactive material. ...


4

The problem is not really that we don't understand some stuff (lthough this is certainly true) but that an ecosystem, or the biosphere is a highly complex network of interactions. This network is continuously displaying some chaotic (determinist but not foreseeable) behavior. In such a system it becomes very hard or practically impossible to predict what the ...


4

Populations founded by a single pair are quite common in the lab The Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel, one such example of high artificial inbreeding, is a series of inbred lines where the researchers mated brother and sister flies for 20 generations to form the lines, which means they will be highly inbred. When you do these though you often lose many ...


4

Whether a disease can be eradicated or not depends on its reservoir. To be eliminated it needs to be eliminated in all places and organisms it can thrive in and spread from. This makes diseases like rabies for example hard to eradicate altogether because it can exist and spread in many different animal species. Polio and smallpox however both have no non-...


4

Short answer The dodo and Irish Elk, both going extinct relatively recently, are examples of species that have yielded skeletons and went extinct, at least partly, due to maladaptations. Background Extinct animals are an example of an answer to your question, barred those species did not go extinct through a cataclysmic event of course. No species can ...


3

OK, I don't know how I did it but I misread your question as being why all the non-mammalian Synapsids went extinct. I answered your question at the end, but I'm leaving the rest as-is until I figure out how to rewrite it (it was rather too much work to delete). According to The Wikipedia page for Synapsids, the answer really depends on the Synapsis since ...


3

Metabolism and evolutionary rates are linked, but not in the way you describe. First consider that metabolism is intrinsically linked to body size. The larger an animal is, the smaller amount of energy per unit mass it takes to maintain that body. This can then be extended to many things about an organism, such as life span, gestation time, population ...


3

The data used in the graph you posted seems to be from Bambach. 2002. Supporting predators: changes in the global ecosystem inferred from changes in predator diversity (in Kowalewski & Kelley. The Fossil Record of Predation) - see fig 19b - and, if so, is specifically dealing with marine predators. I don't have time to look at that paper closely (it is ...


3

Remi.b's answer is spot on - predicting the effects of losing a given species is nigh on impossible. However, I do think that there are some general trends that can give us some intuition, and make the campaign to protect certain species more than just an ethical issue. Biodiversity (i.e. having a wide range of different organisms (and genetically diverse ...


3

Evolution is simply a change in the allele frequency of a population over time. It is not progressive nor does it have to create diversity. Some of the mechanisms of evolution such as genetic drift and stabilizing selection tend to reduce the genetic diversity of populations. Furthermore evolution and extinction are two independent processes. ...


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