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Plos Biology : an Inordinate Fondness of Rarity, Volume 11

By Chase, Jonathan

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Book Id: WPLBN0003922595
Format Type: PDF eBook :
File Size:
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Plos Biology : an Inordinate Fondness of Rarity, Volume 11  
Author: Chase, Jonathan
Volume: Volume 11
Language: English
Subject: Journals, Science, Biology
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, PLoS Biology
Publication Date:
Publisher: Plos

Description : In evolutionary biologist circles, J.B.S. Haldane’s quip to a theologian that from his studies, he has learned God has an ‘‘inordinate fondness of beetles’’, is a perennial favorite to quote, misquote and modify, even though it’s unclear whether the encounter ever actually happened. The point was simply that, but for the vagaries of evolution, beetles were among the most diverse groups of species on the planet. What is unsaid, however, is that the vast majority of species in this very diverse group are also very rare, often known from only a single location or specimen. A rather universal pattern in any given community, be it beetles, trees, or bacteria, is that a few species are quite common, but the majority are rare, many exceptionally so. In fact, when we compare the hyperdiverse tropics to the more depauperate temperate zone, the primary difference in diversity occurs among the rarest of the species. So, while God may be fond of beetles, he seems to abhor dominance for most of his creation.


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