Evolutionary scientists have not dared to propose that the Venus flytrap evolved these animal-like skills by taking genes from its prey, a nearly impossible feat since the prey is fully digested for food. Rather, they have suggested the plant modified and rearranged gene functions that all plants share. But this too lies well beyond the reach of a blind process that cannot predict future needs.
Carnivory is found in the animal kingdom and makes the most sense there. That’s why it’s so intriguing to find this behavior in the green branch of the tree of life, especially considering that most plants seem to thrive using just photosynthesis. If carnivory evolved here to provide more nutrients, why would natural selection reward the plants — apparently able to benefit from more nutrients — for expending some of the precious nutrients they already had to evolve a not-yet-useful new nutrient supply tool, and reward these supposedly evolving plants for their seemingly far-sighted efforts over countless generations stretching over long ages? That is, if the nutrition from the carnivorous action was just a non-essential bonus for the flower, then why would nature select for all the many intermediate steps of this complex bonus system during which the system offered no benefit — neither nutrition nor protection — and likely exacted a nutrient and energy cost at the risk of survival?
If it first evolved for protection and then later evolved to provide additional nutrients, we have the same problem: Why expend all the energy on the way to a functional protection system, before the protection system was at all functional? Natural selection does not look ahead to future payoff, remember. It’s all about “What have you done for me lately?” …
his challenge for Darwinism is only exacerbated by the fact that, if indeed they did evolve carnivory, these plants had to do so “independently at least six times in five angiosperm orders,” as Ellison and Gotelli explain.
Maybe one could grant the evolutionary miracle a single time, but six times?
Marcos Eberlin, “The Lovable Venus Flytrap: A Design Analysis” at Evolution News and Science Today
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