Beardie science experiment (hypothetical) - FaunaClassifieds
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Old 08-22-2005, 01:49 PM   #1
DragonCharm
Beardie science experiment (hypothetical)

How's this for an idea.......homegrown natural selection! I know, it's kind of far out and beyond the means of most breeders but it's fun to think about the possibilities.

My idea would consist of this:

A large fenced in area, something the dragons could not get out of.
A few hundred unrelated hatchlings, juvies, and adults.
Plenty of natural plants and an environment that they can live in year round.
Proper soil for them to burrow into.
A steady supply of food being introduced into the enclosures to allow plenty to thrive despite the somewhat limited food offered in a small area (a few acres is still small compared to them being able to roam freely over miles of terrain). By steady supply of food I mean some to supplement what's there, not a massive amount like what a captive animal would get. Enough to balance out the small area and still allow survival of the fittest.

The idea behind this of course is that breeders have consistently bred the pretty dragons over the strongest, largest dragons. Now all of us say we are going to only breed the largest dragons, over such and such grams, etc but we all know we aren't going to do that every time. If something came out fire engine red we'd all be breeding it as soon as possible, even if it was 50g short of our target. Then of course this keeps happening and the lines are getting smaller and weaker. Over time of course the worry is that the lines will be ruined to the point that keeping animals alive will be harder than we've ever imagined. Backyard breeders are further deteriorating the lines as well by often breeding with no concepts of genetics and no concern for the animals except that they produce a profit for them.

Now what I'd hope would happen would be that the bigger, stronger dragons would get to mate the females. The smaller animals would be picked of by preds or not get enough to eat. Now this sounds cruel but this is what happens in Australia, this is how nature selects the breeders and why species continue on and in some cases improve over time rather than deteriorate.

What do you think? Cool idea? Do you think we'd see a dramatic change in the animals that are there after a decade or so? Do you think something like this would allow us to create nice strong dragons to outcross with the current color lines?
 
Old 08-22-2005, 02:18 PM   #2
Vince
I think he result would be alot of fat birds.
 
Old 08-22-2005, 02:21 PM   #3
DragonCharm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince
I think he result would be alot of fat birds.
True, some would get picked off by birds but the smartest and fastest would live on to procreate. Just as they would in nature. You'd certainly have to have plenty of vegetation for them to hide in, etc. They can't just be out in the middle of a bare patch of sand.
 
Old 08-22-2005, 07:53 PM   #4
kalla-n-mir
I kind of agree with the post above, a good deal of them would get eaten. One of the problems in this experiment is that natural selection mostly occurs on a large scale over a large amount of time... the thoery behind it is that the best able to survive would be the ones to breed the most *over time*. A lot of time... so over a decade, I don't think there would be much of a change, except a very large reduction in the population, if not even a total reduction. Captive hatched specimens would probably have a much smaller chance of survival, they wouldn't be that used to living in the wild, in this environment, I would think.
Anyway, say you introduced hundreds of hatchlings, etc into the wild like this... I don't know what you would have over a decade except a smaller population. I think over maybe a little longer, even 50 or a hundred years, you would end up with something on the lines of a regular sized population (i.e. the normal population you would find in their home environment, perhaps a little bigger). However, this population wouldn't necessarily be larger specimens than the ones you previously introduced. What if smaller size was a benefit, for instance? Maybe a smaller bearded could move quicker than a larger bearded, and would then have a better chance of surviving to breed?
What's really interesting to me about this topic is that the end result wouldn't necessarily be bigger beardeds. It would simply show what the optimal breeding characteristics were in a bearded dragon for that environment. You would have a much better idea about optimal size, habitat, even color for beardeds in the wild in your area.
In any event, if you want the biggest bearded, I think your best bet would still be selective breeding - the biggest to the biggest. You don't have the huge gene pool that you would in the wild, but you're selecting for the traits you want, like size, as opposed to the traits mother nature wants, whatever those may be.

Anyway, it's still an interesting idea.
=)
 
Old 08-22-2005, 09:38 PM   #5
starwarsdad
Since this is hypothetical, my point is moot, but I like to hear myself type every now and again

Considering the population of dragons in the US originated from only a few hundred individuals that have been, sometimes, severely inbred, there is no way to put together the group you would need outside of Oz.
 

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