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Quest For The Giant Sloth
A Short Essay
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The following is a short essay from a book I am currently in publication negotiations for. It is regarding the genetic and ecological possibility for a bigfoot, and the same could be said for a sloth.

John Lewis' work in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology has been featured in the New York Times, The Discovery Channel, The Discovery Channel BBC, BBC Radio, NPR, and highlighted in National Geographic along with Dr. Thomas Kane from the University of Cincinnati.

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Genetic Bottleneck Theory: Why the odds are against a Giant Sloth

Quite simply put, it is highly unlikely that there is a creature, whether it be known as the Giant Sloth, What's more, even if there were such a creature, the odds of it surviving beyond 50 years are too great to overcome. Before you discuss genetic bottleneck, you must first look at effective population size. Genetic drift is especially important in rare species. When we look at most populations of any organisms, they consist of small, localized breeding populations. When these populations diverge through genetic drift, they give rise to variation among geographically distant groups of the same species, ie. smaller extant sloths (two and three toed varieties) could have arisen through genetic drift from a common ancestor. The main problem with small population sizes is that drift is reduced due to lack of sexual partners. It is further reduced by the fact that not all members of a group may be sexually mature, or they may be out-competed by other males, giving very little drift of new DNA into the population. This is termed as putting the population through a bottleneck. Such a situation arises in a reduction of heterozygosity, or genetic variation. It makes the resulting population more prone to disease and bad mutations in the genome. This is seen in rare zoo animals today, and is the reason that zoological gardens "borrow" animals from other zoos. To keep the DNA full of variation. If this variation is not maintained, it will result in mutations and eventually an end of the species, either through death or through mutation into a new species. In simple life forms with short life-spans and high offspring numbers, the chance to develop a useful mutation and survive is relatively good. The decreased heterozygosity will essentially force the population to provide its own variation to a greater degree than normal, in the hopes of increasing the Fitness of that population. With more developed animals with longer lifespans and fewer offspring, the result is often extinction. It is for this reason, coupled with low numbers in the bigfoot population and the lack of introduction of new DNA into the mating populations that the likelihood of a Bigfoot or similar type of organism is highly doubtful. What's more, if it did exist, it would surely be extinct within the next fifty years due to the argument set forward above.


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