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Specialization has posed crucial problems for evolutionary biologists: What are the
 

Summary: Specialization has posed crucial problems
for evolutionary biologists: What are the
benefits of specialization? Is specialization
an evolutionary dead end? Theory has long
predicted that specialization is favored
because of tradeoffs in fitness when
organisms utilize different resources. These
microevolutionary benefits are thought to
be offset by a reduction in
macroevolutionary diversification. Again,
theory has suggested that the narrow
ecology of specialists will result in fewer
opportunities for speciation, and, therefore,
lower levels of diversification than in less
specialized clades. This suggestion dates
back to E. Cope in 1896, who coined the idea
`law of the unspecialized'. However,
specialization as an evolutionary dead end
appears inconsistent with the existence of
diverse and highly specialized clades. For

  

Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology