Island Dwarfism

“Island dwarfism” (aka insular dwarfism) is a phenomenon which applies mainly to large animals (especially mammals and dinosaurs) which have become isolated in areas of limited resources such as islands, oasis, desert mountain ranges and other such areas. In such locations large animals may become smaller over many generations. This change seems to be a response to limited resources as smaller animals need less and may thus be better adapted for survival. Examples of island dwarfs include small-sized crocodiles, tiny ground sloths, diminutive mammoth and fascinating miniature dinosaurs (all of the aforementioned animals are now extinct). Various populations of small people are also found on remote islands and within isolated locations in various parts of the world.

In contrast to “island dwarfism” there is a reverse condition called “island gigantism” in which animals may grow larger in absence of predators. The Dodo bird is an excellent example as the ancestors of this now extinct species were originally the size of a modern pigeon.

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~ by softypapa on June 29, 2010.

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