hat can We Learn From Obsolete Species?

Evolution is harsh-many species don’t stay around. I have always been fascinated by the oddball survivors who somehow stayed around, like:
-the Wollemi Pine (small range, but doing fine)
-the Ginko tree (down to one species, but surviving)
-the Coelacanth fish (rather restricted range, but somehow hangs on, with its obsolete heart and fins)
What can we learn from these oddball survivors? What kept them going, for all these millions of years?

What fascinates me are the ones that find a niche, then seem to stop evolving. Crocodiles have been the same for 250 million years, so I have heard. Humans and our ancestors changed drastically in that time period.

Don’t be where newly emerging environmental conditions or predators will kill you. And we already did that. We are the one lone remaining hominid species.

Of course, we adopted the counterstrategy of us being the ones who seek to kill the predators/competitors first, and deploying measures to render the environment moot.

I disagree with calling them “obsolete” species. How about “venerable” or “long term successful”?

ralph124c, I think there is a virus on your computer that strips out random characters from your thread titles and randomly misspells words in them sometimes too. It has done it to the last four or five of your threads including this one. You may want to get someone to fix that.

Pandas are doomed - they have evolved such a specialized diet that their extinction is all but inevitable. A cautionary tale.

It’s not just their diet - their reluctance to have sex and tendency to pop out the pups in such an undeveloped state isn’t helping either.

There is of course no such thing as an obsolete species - that’s teleological. Let’s pretend ralph meant “Species that have survived in small numbers substantially unchanged for several million years” even if it’s not so short.


Doesn’t seem to have slowed down humans much.

“Last four or five of his threads”? More like the last four or five thousand of his threads.

hat we can learn about from obsolete species

Which is why I advocate a blowout hunting season. Why wait?

Wait a minute! What’s all this about hats?

Humans not only have fully opposable thumbs (Pandas have a work-around which, will impressive in many ways, is a bit specialized for stripping leaves from bamboo) which makes holding onto the underdeveloped young a bit easier, usually have the involvement of more than one adult in infant care, and have also developed this highly useful thing called “technology” which enables the construction of things like infant carriers, onsies, and bottle feeding which compensates greatly for our somewhat larval birth form.

Hail to the tuatara!

Hats became an obsolete species in the Kennedy administration. Right now, they do not naturally reproduce since they are only worn by hipsters who are naturally sterile.

Yea, though I walk in the shadow of the valley of death I will fear no evil because I am the meanest son of a bitch in this damn valley.

A golden-lion tamarin wearing a fedora?

The underdeveloped babies strike me as curious. It’s almost like pandas are evolutionary a close relative of marsupials.

Speaking of which, it’s pretty much undeniable that marsupials have a losing strategy. With the exception of possums, marsupials were all diven out by placental mammals. They only managed to thrive in Australia because there’s no significant placental competition there.