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Does Specialization Must Lead to an Evolutionary Dead - Term Paper Example

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This paper proves that specialization does not lead to an evolutionary dead end using evidence from relevant researches on floral plants, parasites, and mammals. As further evidence of this concept, a plausible mechanism through which transition of specialist to generalist occur are also discussed…
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Does Specialization Must Lead to an Evolutionary Dead
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Download file to see previous pages On the other end are ‘generalists’, which are able to utilize a wider range of environmental conditions. Factors such as “jack of all, master of none” and freedom from natural enemies, have been used to justify the prevalence of specialists, however; it has also been postulated that in spite of these advantages, specialization would gradually lead to loss of genetic variations, thus disabling capacity of adaptation to altered set of environmental conditions. These factors would eventually lead to the extinction of a specialized organism, a theory first put forward by Cope IN 1896 and termed “law of the unspecialized” (Kelly and Farrel, 1998). Another implication of this concept is that the specialists are derived from generalists and the change is irreversible.
This theory has been challenged by retains a number of recent studies, and the evidence contradicting the implications of this theory are mounting. This evidence has proved that either no directionality exists in the evolution of specialists and generalists or that the generalists have evolved from specialist ancestors (Stireman III, 2005). In either case specialization definitely does not lead to an evolutionary dead end. That this trend is not an exception or restricted to a few taxa, is evidenced by the fact that such reports are available for organisms belonging to varied phyla including angiosperms, insects, fishes, mammals, and microorganisms. This paper aims to prove that specialization does not definitely lead to an evolutionary dead end using evidence from relevant researches on floral plants, parasites, and mammals. As further evidence of this concept, a plausible mechanism through which the transition of specialist to generalist has been reported to occur will also be discussed. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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