Being the king of the castle or rather a very large vertebrae doesn’t necessarily imply that you will live forever. Big and frightening isn’t at all related to high chances of survival. According to a new study, it seems that large animals risk extinction.
The problem is not that the actual imply that the process is happening now, but rather that it had a precedence in the distant past. Research conducted on a series of fossils, dating back to the so-called Devonian extinction, revealed that the bigger the animal was, the smaller was their chance of survival.
Due to the fact that the larger vertebrae had longer periods of reproduction and shorted life spans, they’re chance of actual surviving was very slim indeed. Prompted by this amazing discovery, the scientist could also explain another concept that loomed about during the same period. When faced with mass extinction, Mother Nature had to come up with some sort of contingency plan. And so, the Lilliput effect theory was born. What entails this theory?
It seems that when a specie is faced with the possibility of extinction, they tend to shrink, like they were being thrown in a gigantic washing machine and washed with plenty of cold water. This theory is also reinforced by the fact that, over the year, paleontologist has found traces of this ability in newly evolved vertebrates such as tetrapod. This process of evolution or revolution took a very long time (approximately 36 million years).
The Devonian extinction proved to be more catastrophic to the wildlife than other cataclysms that hit Earth. During this period of time that hit Earth approximately 359 million years ago, nearly 96 percent of wildlife went extinct. And that’s not the end of the story.
It seems that the Devonian extinction prompted a major restructuration in terms of wildlife and ecosystem. By the end of the late Devonian period, the Earth was inhabited only by bugs and plants.
In order to test out their theory, the team of scientists gathered an impressive collection of over a thousand fossils, belonging to different species of vertebrates.
Large animals risk extinction, so the study has concluded. And the event itself is not only isolated to the early years in Earth’s history. According to the specialist, the event is cyclical, and sooner or later we will have to face out modern Devonian extinction.