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From: Joe Dees
> >> Nope. Shorter giraffes starved to death, taller ones (however
> >'taller' was manifested, by neck or legs or both) survived to reproduce,
> >giving us a new spectrum of heights in succeeding generations; the
> >shorter ones of these generations starved to death, too, and the
> >median giraffe height rose as a consequence of this blind purposeless
> >natural environmental selection of certain mutations over others, or of
> >one end of that species' body-configuration spectrum over the other,
> >in continuous iteration.
> >That giraffes have long necks due to their desire to reach the highest
> >leaves is what Gould refers to as "the tallest tale." It's a myth.
> >developed long necks because the males of the species establish
> >mating supremacy by trying to knock each other down. Like goats they
> >charge at each other, except that their weapon is the neck instead of
> >calcified hair. They usually end up neck-wrestling and, inevitably, the
> >longer neck wins.
> >Environment and the threat of starvation have nothing to do with it.
> If you can provide a reference for this, I stand corrected of an incorrect
assumption, and thank you for furthering my understanding of this phenomenon
as direct social/sexual competition rather than food competition.
Gould, Stephen Jay. Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms:
Essays on Natural History. Oct. 1998. 432p. Crown/Harmony
Except for the phrase "neck-wrestling" (my own embellishment), it's all
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