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Why Were the Animals So Big?

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Ice Age animals, especially the large mammals, seem to have won a special place in people’s hearts. While plenty of other strange and wonderful fossils inhabit museums, let’s face facts: nobody makes children’s movies or television shows about armored fish or extinct sea-scorpions. On the other hand, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and other giant mammals show up everywhere in popular culture. Just look at the success of the Ice Age animated movies. Fascination with Pleistocene megafauna (“big animals” of the Ice Age) is alive and well.

One reason for our fascination is that many familiar animals possessed unusual traits during the Ice Age (who put hair on those elephants?) or lived in unusual places (why did giant South American armadillos move to Texas?). The main interest, however, is that they were, well, big. Something about being big impresses us. An ordinary beaver: no big deal. But an eight-foot-long beaver: now that’s impressive!

Rules, Rules, Rules

Unlike physics and chemistry, biology has relatively few mathematical rules or “laws.” And the handful of useful equations (such as those in population genetics) rarely apply to real-world situations. Why? Unlike molecules or falling bowling balls, living creatures don’t often follow simple rules. They are dynamic and unpredictable.

[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]

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