Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy
Caption: The smallest animals have young that are proportionately enormous relative to the adults. The figure shows that hatchlings of the smallest snakes are one-half the length of an adult, whereas the hatchlings of the largest snakes are only one-tenth the length of an adult. Tiny snakes produce only one massive egg -- relative to the size of the mother -- which suggests that natural selection is trying to keep the size of hatchlings above a critical limit in order for them to survive.
Credit: Blair Hedges lab, Penn State
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