>Island tameness is the tendency of many populations and species of animals living on isolated islands to lose their wariness of potential predators, particularly of large animals. The term is partly synonymous with ecological naïvete, which also has a wider meaning referring to the loss of defensive behaviors and adaptations needed to deal with these "new" predators. Species retain such wariness of predators that exist in their environment, for example a Hawaiian goose retains its wariness of hawks, but lose such behaviors associated with mammals or other predators not found in their historical range. The most famous example is that of the dodo bird, which owed its extinction in a large part to a lack of fear of humans, and many species of penguin - which although wary of sea predators have no real land predator, and therefore are very unafraid and curious towards humans and their dogs.
>Island tameness can be highly maladaptive in situations where humans have introduced predators, intentionally or accidentally, such as pigs, dogs, rats or cats, to islands where ecologically naïve fauna lives. It has also made many island species, such as the long-extinct dodo or the short-tailed albatross, vulnerable to human hunting. In many instances the native species are unable to learn to avoid new predators, or change their behavior to minimize their risk. This tameness is eventually lost or reduced in some species but many island populations are too small or breed too slowly for the affected species to adapt quickly enough. When combined with other threats, such as habitat loss, this has led to the extinction of many species (such as the Laysan rail and the Stephens Island wren) and continues to threaten others.
>Island gigantism or insular gigantism is a biological phenomenon in which the size of animals isolated on an island increases dramatically in comparison to their mainland relatives. Island gigantism is one aspect of the more general "island rule", which posits that when mainland animals colonize islands, small species tend to evolve larger bodies, and large species tend to evolve smaller bodies. With the arrival of humans and associated predators (dogs, cats, rats, pigs), many giant as well as other island endemics have become extinct.
>Isolation breeds naivety: island living robs Australian varanid lizards of toad-toxin immunity via four-base-pair mutation.
>Since their introduction to the toad-free Australian continent cane toads (Bufo marinus) have caused a dramatic increase in naïve varanid mortality when these large lizards attempt to feed on this toxic amphibian. In contrast Asian-African varanids, which have coevolved with toads, are resistant to toad toxin.
>While "island tameness" is an old idea, there have been few rigorous studies of the phenomenon. Many aspects remain unclear, including the mechanisms behind it and the speed at which it evolves in island populations.
>A new University of Michigan-led study of Aegean wall lizard populations on 37 Greek islands shows that island tameness is determined by both the diversity of the local predator populations and the length of time an island has been separated from the mainland.
>The researchers found that as the diversity of predators on an island increases, so does the distance at which these small lizards start to flee when they are approached -- an anti-predator response which scientists call the flight initiation distance. In addition, they found that the longer an island has been isolated from the mainland, on average, the longer its resident Aegean wall lizards will wait before fleeing from a predator.
This thread is about fat, naive animals living in an environment without predators.
>This thread is about fat, naive animals living in an environment without predators.
Perfect description of Amerifats if you ask me (who are of course Islamophobes).
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