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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Sorry, Stephen - if you're out there somewhere - it seems you were wrong...

The late Stephen Jay Gould wrote:

“Orchids manufacture their intricate devices from the common components of ordinary flowers, parts usually fitted for very different functions. If God had designed a beautiful machine to reflect his wisdom and power, surely he would not have used a collection of parts generally fashioned for other purposes. Orchids were not made by an ideal engineer; they are jury-rigged from a limited set of available components. Thus, they must have evolved from ordinary flowers.” (The Panda’s Thumb, New York: W. W. Norton, 1980, p. 20.)

Apparently not according to scientists at the New York Botanical Garden...

Like many great beauties, orchids are coy about their age. Scientist had long assumed that orchids were young in evolutionary terms. Most organisms start out simple and get gradually more complex over the course of evolution. Thus orchids, which can be extremely complex, appeared to be the late-evolving ingenues of the plant world. A scientist at The New York Botanical Garden, however, is challenging this view, using new molecular tools to ask a ladyslipper her age.

The results have been surprising.

"Orchids had been considered the apex of plant evolution, just as humans were thought of as being the most evolved animals," says orchid expert Ken Cameron, Ph.D., Assistant Curator at The New York Botanical Garden and Acting Director of The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics Studies. "Just from looking at them, you would think this to be the case. Although the great majority of orchid species (mostly epiphytes living in trees) are probably of fairly recent origin, the orchid family as a whole is more ancient than traditionally believed, as exemplified by a handful of surviving relict species."

Thanks to Denyse O'Leary at By Design or By Chance for this link.

Another myth about to bite the dust?

2:20:00 pm