News for Dec. 30, 2005

Fictional King Kong mirrors odd island facts

12/30/05, 11:49 am EST - Xoanon

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - King Kong may be a far-fetched creation of Hollywood but scientists say the big ape has some basis in biological fact: animals on islands often evolve into gigantic versions of their mainland kin. "There is a whole body of research on islands which suggests gigantism occurs on them but of course nothing on the scale of King Kong," said Sue Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist and director of the global species programme for WWF International. "There is evidence that this happens because of isolation and a lack of competition ... the further an island is from the mainland the more potential there is for the evolution of new species," she told Reuters by telephone from Rome. [More]