Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Cope’s Laws Or Rules

Nineteenth century observations by Cope

1. that a species’ survival is related to the degree of its maintenance of generalized adaptations; conversely, that specialization is maladaptive. Aka law of the unspecialized.

2. that phyletic lineages tend to be founded by organisms of relatively small size, and that successive organisms tend to increase in size through time. This latter phenomenon is currently thought to be explained by climatic shifts as well as by corresponding responses of organisms along a continuum from r-selected species to K-selected species.

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