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This question seems very similar to an earlier question, differing mainly in the earlier question asking why earlier species were giant (or why such is less common now). (The answers to the earlier mostly addressed the content of the later question and not the specific historical factors.)

A comment to the earlier question asked for a clarification: Do you mean "what was the reason for some plant and animals to become giant in course of evolution?" or probably "What are the advances and drawbacks of being a giant plant or animal organism?" Even under natural selection these are distinct questions--the former might include "accidental" causes of size differences which are selection neutral (e.g., a particular gene might have a beneficial effect and a selection-neutral [or less negative than the other benefit] size effect) and the former seems to emphasize environment factors or perhaps specific historical factors (but the historical factors probably differed, e.g., huge dragonflies might have been more practical with higher oxygen concentration and/or a denser atmosphere but such factors might be insignificant in explaining dinosaur or Giant Sloth sizes); however, they are similar (and the answers--mostly avoiding the historical factors--are even more likely to be similar).

Anyway, what are the guidelines for judging a question to be a duplicate?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm a bit of a layperson when it comes to biology, so I'm pretty interested in seeing how this community feels about the similarities between these two questions. $\endgroup$
    – Aarthi
    Feb 19 '13 at 22:41
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I believe questions should only be marked as duplicate if and only if an answer to the question it is being marked as a duplicate of would clearly and completely answers the question asked in the original question.

In the particular example you raise I do not believe this applies. The first question is about why organisms get larger during evolution, whilst the second is about why there are larger animals in the fossil record than are alive today.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree that those two questions are substantially different (which was why I only included a comment in the later question pointing to the earlier one). On the other hand, the answers to the earlier question generally seem to answer the later one (i.e., are not quite on-target--and I am guilty in this case). $\endgroup$ Feb 20 '13 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ True. I'd be inclined to add a comment pointing that out (as I see you did) rather than vote to close as duplicate. $\endgroup$ Feb 20 '13 at 14:10

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