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Zoology/Is our ecology predetermined?

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Question
Hi, I was at the Natural History Museum in London on the weekend and noticed that many of the dinosaurs there had very similar traits and fitted into the same sort of stereotypes as animals that are alive today; for example I noticed that even though the dinosaurs were all birds/reptiles, some looked and behaved like dolphins, some like elephants, some like jackals etc.
I also remember reading in a Richard Dawkings book that showed different related marsupials that were like marsupial versions of animals, for example squirrels, anteaters, cats etc.
I was wondering if this was a coincidence or if whatever family of living beings occupy the Earth they will evolve into certain stereotypical beings, like fate? Is there any more information or examples you could give me please? Thanks.

Answer
Natural selection and speciation depends upon a number of factors such as competition, cooperation,isolation,and environmental factors. Natural  selection does nor involve "fate" or predetermination. Suffice to say that if a planet with the exact same conditions were to undergo evolution of life forms the results would be similar to the Earth. If there where a difference in gravity, oxygen content of the atmosphere or differences in the energy source the human form would vary.

Zoology

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

I can answer questions about both vertebrate and invertebrate zoology. I am an expert in animal behavior, especially birds.

Experience

I have taught for over 50 years. I teach college biology courses and I have led tours to the Galapagos Islands and the Belize rain forest

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