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Felis tailbiscuitus & Gazella clodi


Here we have examples of animals that did not fare well in nature and the selection process. The first picture shows the feline Felis tailbiscuitus, an extinct member of the family Felidae. This species was discovered after scientists found a fossil shaped much like a dog biscuit next to a Canine fossil that dated to prehistoric times. Since scientists know that dog biscuits did not exist in prehistoric times, they immediately realized that the fossil must have belonged to a prehistoric cat, which for obvious reasons can now only be found as a fossil. Scientists believe the Canine population enjoyed a sharp increase during the Felis tailbiscuitus’s brief period of existence.

gazelles.jpg (13819 bytes)

This next picture is of the oaf gazelle, or Gazella clodi of the family Artiodactyla. This gazelle is an example of punctuated equilibrium1 that didn’t work. Many years ago a small group of gazelles splintered from the main population, finding a niche in the wild that was free of predators. Over time, the oaf gazelle grew complacent and dawdling. Standing still for long periods of time began to take its toll on the oaf gazelle's hooves, so over many years they developed larger, sturdier hooves. Unfortunately, just as the population was establishing its niche in the wild, a pride of Panthera leo krugeri, commonly known as lions, discovered the oaf gazelle's hiding place, causing extinction of the species in a matter of just a few months. Only one fossil of the oaf gazelle has been found, a 2-foot long hoof.


1. For a brief description of punctuated equilibrium, see footnote 1 on the last page of the Flight Series.

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