One equation fits overkill

why allometry underpins both prehistoric and modern body size-biased extinctions

B BROOK, David Bowman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The higher extinction proneness of large bodied vertebrates, both in the past and during the modern global biodiversity crisis, has a fundamental explanation in allometry: maximal population increase is scaled to body mass (W) by W -0.25, whilst generation length scales by W 0.25. Populations of any sized vertebrate can persist if their populations experience the same proportional reduction each generation, but if this chronic mortality occurs at an annual rate, then smaller short-lived animals are able to survive whilst larger animals are driven inexorably to extinction. On this basis, our interpretation of the empirical body mass-extinction risk evidence for both the Late Pleistocene extinctions and the contemporary biodiversity crisis is that human impacts are sufficiently rapid and ubiquitous to outstrip the capacity of natural selection in most large taxa, upsetting the highly evolved life history trade-offs that permit the maintenance of a diverse assemblage of different sized animals. � The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2005.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-141
    Number of pages5
    JournalPopulation Ecology
    Volume47
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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    Body Size
    allometry
    extinction
    body size
    Biodiversity
    Vertebrates
    Biological Extinction
    Population
    Genetic Selection
    vertebrates
    biodiversity
    animals
    Maintenance
    natural selection
    anthropogenic activities
    population growth
    Mortality
    life history

    Cite this

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    title = "One equation fits overkill: why allometry underpins both prehistoric and modern body size-biased extinctions",
    abstract = "The higher extinction proneness of large bodied vertebrates, both in the past and during the modern global biodiversity crisis, has a fundamental explanation in allometry: maximal population increase is scaled to body mass (W) by W -0.25, whilst generation length scales by W 0.25. Populations of any sized vertebrate can persist if their populations experience the same proportional reduction each generation, but if this chronic mortality occurs at an annual rate, then smaller short-lived animals are able to survive whilst larger animals are driven inexorably to extinction. On this basis, our interpretation of the empirical body mass-extinction risk evidence for both the Late Pleistocene extinctions and the contemporary biodiversity crisis is that human impacts are sufficiently rapid and ubiquitous to outstrip the capacity of natural selection in most large taxa, upsetting the highly evolved life history trade-offs that permit the maintenance of a diverse assemblage of different sized animals. � The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2005.",
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    author = "B BROOK and David Bowman",
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    }

    One equation fits overkill : why allometry underpins both prehistoric and modern body size-biased extinctions. / BROOK, B; Bowman, David.

    In: Population Ecology, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2005, p. 137-141.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - One equation fits overkill

    T2 - why allometry underpins both prehistoric and modern body size-biased extinctions

    AU - BROOK, B

    AU - Bowman, David

    PY - 2005

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    AB - The higher extinction proneness of large bodied vertebrates, both in the past and during the modern global biodiversity crisis, has a fundamental explanation in allometry: maximal population increase is scaled to body mass (W) by W -0.25, whilst generation length scales by W 0.25. Populations of any sized vertebrate can persist if their populations experience the same proportional reduction each generation, but if this chronic mortality occurs at an annual rate, then smaller short-lived animals are able to survive whilst larger animals are driven inexorably to extinction. On this basis, our interpretation of the empirical body mass-extinction risk evidence for both the Late Pleistocene extinctions and the contemporary biodiversity crisis is that human impacts are sufficiently rapid and ubiquitous to outstrip the capacity of natural selection in most large taxa, upsetting the highly evolved life history trade-offs that permit the maintenance of a diverse assemblage of different sized animals. � The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2005.

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    KW - body size

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    KW - Vertebrata

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