“There is really nothing else so odd about life as its variety”

“There is really nothing else so odd about life as its variety.  Consider the grasses of a pasture.  A dozen kinds of grass and other plants will live all mixed up together in an old pasture.  I once found five or six kinds of grass in a square yard or so of one of the manicured lawns of Cambridge.  But why should there be so many kinds of grass in a pasture or lawn?  Why is there not one perfect kind of pasture plant, ideally suited to the circumstance of pasture life, perfectly efficient at getting a living in that grazed or mowed-down space?”

“Animals live in a pasture too, and in even greater array than the plants, particularly the insects, which are present in dozens of oddly different shapes.  Why so many?  Why not one perfect grass-processing, pasture insect, together perhaps with its perfectly adapted predator?”

— Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare by Paul Colinvaux

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