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Friday, July 10, 2009

Solution to "Abominable Mystery" of Flowering Plants Proposed

The great explosion in flowering plants during the Cretaceous Period is one of the great enigmas of evolution.

Charles Darwin had no explanation, calling it an "abominable mystery".

But now scientists think they have solved the riddle of how flowers came to dominate the conifers and ferns that preceded them.

The flowers' secret, they say, was to exploit a change in soil fertility, and create a feedback loop that allowed new flowers to feed off dead ones.

The relative explosion of flowering plants greatly worried Darwin.

In a letter written on 8 March 1875 to palaeobotanist Oswald Heer, he said: "The sudden appearance of so many Dycotyledons in the Upper Chalk appears to me a most perplexing phenomenon to all who believe in any form of evolution."

link: BBC - Earth News - How flowers conquered the world


Anonymous said...

Man that was close. I was almost an Intelligent Designist out of sheer nerves.


Brennan Young said...

Another (quite major) objection to Darwin dealt with, and once again feedback loops are demonstrated to be the principle behind effective innovation in nature, just as they are in man made systems such as Web 2.0. So when will they start teaching elementary cybernetics in Math classes at high school? Anyone would think the politicians are trying to stop us from developing...

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