Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/6/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Natural selection is the reason we don't have giant insects.

Pick up any book about prehistoric life on Earth and you're bound to see pictures of giant insects that crawled and winged their way about the planet some 300 million years ago. Today, all these giant insects are gone, replaced by much smaller versions of themselves. What happened and where did the giant bugs go?

Scientists bred this oversized dragonfly in the laboratory using an oxygen rich environment.

Scientists bred this oversized dragonfly in the laboratory using an oxygen rich environment.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/6/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Birds, insects, prehistoric, evolution, natural selection


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to researchers, the evolution of birds may have a lot to do with it. As it is now understood, birds evolved from dinosaurs and they preyed on giant insects. This created evolutionary pressure and natural selection began to favor smaller bugs that were more difficult to find and catch.

Giant insects first evolved thanks to the oxygen rich atmosphere of the prehistoric earth. Studies have shown that large insects prevailed at a time when birds did not exist and oxygen levels were high. These findings have been supported by modern research with insects raised in oxygen-rich environments. 

Fossil evidence shows some of the bugs were as large as a modern duck.

However, the evolution of birds appears to have changed the game for large insects. About 150 million years ago, despite high oxygen levels in the atmosphere, insects became smaller. This is the same time when birds appear in the fossil record. 

According to the theory of natural selection, this would be because smaller insect offspring would be more likely to survive and reproduce than large offspring, who would be more likely to become food. 

As the small offspring survived and the large were consumed, traits for small size became dominant and eventually large insects became extinct, replaced by smaller species. 

Researchers say further study is needed to confirm the hypothesis including studies on how changes in oxygen levels affects different insects over time, as well as seeking more fossils that would affirm, or invalidate the hypothesis.

All this leaves just one question. If the bugs were as large as birds, just how big were the birds that ate them?

 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Green

You could be the reason fish are vanishing from the oceans! The shocking reality and consequences of harvesting fish into extinction Watch

Image of Researches estimate, oceans may be virtually emptied by 2050.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids; health experts and doctors consistently urge large consumptions of fish every day. However, the populations of fish are rapidly dropping due to massive amounts of human harvesting. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The oceans can ... continue reading


OUT OF THIS WORLD VIDEO: Monster leech swallows giant worm caught on camera Watch

Image of Filmed for the first time on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo, for the BBC Two's TV special,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an incredible new nature video from the British Broadcasting Company, or BBC, a giant red leech is seen consuming a worm's body in its entirety. In footage that appears beamed in from another planet, the leech searches the worm's body for an end, and begins ... continue reading


The FRIGHTENING REALITY of sea level rise for United States' coastal cities: Where will they be in 30 years? Watch

Image of New York City is one of the coastal cities that will suffer with sea level rise.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In 30 to 40 years, the sea level is likely to be between six and 15 inches higher than it was in 1986. Flooding along the United States coasts will become more common and some coastal cities may even be left permanently submerged in water. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Why are California's giant trees DYING? Scientists rush to save these wooden giants Watch

Image of Many of California's giant trees are dying off, and scientists believe climate change is the primary factor, as smaller trees more adaptable to dryer and warm climates flourish.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Long home to venerable ancient Redwoods and massive pines, California may see an end to the giant trees that have been a hallmark of much of the state-especially the northern half. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Climate change may be the culprit, scientists ... continue reading


Trapped under 33 feet of ice, these miraculous creatures survive in perpetual night and freezing temperatures Watch

Image of Locked in a small pocket between 33 feet of ice and the seafloor, researchers have found a living community of fish, isolated from the surrounding ocean.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln made a miraculous discovery while drilling through a 2,430 foot thick sheet of ice in Antarctica, a fish that has been living in perpetual night underneath the ice sheet. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


One third of great apes dead due to Ebola: Deadly disease making inroads on animal kingdom Watch

Image of Disease is not the only culprit. The great apes also are decimated by illegal trading in wildlife, deforestation, wars and other infectious diseases.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The much dreaded Ebola virus continues to ravage most of West Africa, -- and is taking its toll on humankind's closest biological cousins, apes and monkeys. One-third of all primates in the wild have died from the deadly virus since the 1990s. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Dealing with climate change requires 'real leadership': Romney takes Obama to task over failed green policies Watch

Image of Mitt Romney, two time presidential hopeful and likely 2016 candidate, spoke out on the issue of climate change, in a move likely intended to bolster support from moderate Republicans and independents who feel it is a major issue that needs to be seriously addressed.

By Matt Watterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mitt Romney may not have officially announced his intention to run for president in 2016, but that doesn't mean the former Massachusetts governor and two time presidential hopeful isn't already hard on the campaign trail. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Massive oil spill in the Yellowstone River leaves many enraged and without water Watch

Image of Though it's not the first oil spill in the Yellowstone River, this incident left thousands without clean water.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An oil pipeline breach underneath the Yellowstone River on January 17 altered the lives of many people living near the spill. The residents of Glendive, Montana experienced great terror when oil began to erupt into the river and contaminate their water supply. LOS ... continue reading


Scientists warn of mass extinction event that may even affect humans! Watch

Image of Human pollution and exploitation fo the ocean is resulting in mass extinction for numerous marine animals.

By Matt Watterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study out of the University of California, Santa Barbara is warning that the loss of individual animal species in the world's oceans is about to "rapidly intensify" because of ongoing pollution, exploitation and destruction by humanity. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The unbelievable living fossil! Fisherman finds shocking 'monster shark' off the coast of Australia Watch

Image of According to South East Trawl Fishing Association, the frilled shark is often referred to as a

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Straight out of a horror film, a fisherman finds a monstrous sea-creature in the waters off Australia's coast. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Often referred to as a "living fossil," the sea creature is actually a type of shark. According to the South East Trawl ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:19-25
19 We have then, brothers, complete confidence ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:21-25
21 He also said to them, 'Is a lamp brought in to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 29th, 2015 Image

Sts. Sarbelius & Barbea
January 29: Two martyrs, brother and sister, who were put to death at Edessa ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter