extinction Intelligent Design Plants

Did the dinosaurs’ departure change plants?

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Here is an interesting claim: “The 25 million years of large herbivore absence slowed down the evolution of new plant species.”

Defensive features such as spines regressed and fruit sizes increased. The research has demonstrated this using palm trees as a model system…

With their work, the researchers shed new light on evolution and adaptation during one of the most enigmatic and unique periods in the history of plant evolution, during and after megaherbivore extinctions. Understanding how megaherbivore extinctions affected plant evolution in the past can also help predict future ecological developments. For example, the authors have noted the loss of traits during the megaherbivore gap. This loss can affect important ecosystem functions and processes, such as seed dispersal or herbivory. The ongoing extinction of large animals due to human hunting and climate change may thus also affect trait variation in plant communities and ecosystems today and in the foreseeable future.

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, “Dinosaur extinction changed plant evolution” at ScienceDaily (May 2, 2022)

It’s a reasonable idea compared to much that we hear.

The paper is open access.

3 Replies to “Did the dinosaurs’ departure change plants?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    I’ll bet those variations can occur a whole lot faster than millions of years. Plants use epigenes much more actively than animals, often using epigenes for memory or logic where animals would use neurons.

  2. 2
    marker says:

    This amounts to wishful thinking or which came first, the chicken or the egg? It implies an automatic mechanism that once switched on, guides itself as if it had intelligence. Again, if this was true, scientists would be able to not only duplicate but improve on the process.

  3. 3
    Fasteddious says:

    I note, “the authors have noted the loss of traits during the megaherbivore gap. This loss can affect important ecosystem functions and processes, such as seed dispersal or herbivory”.
    Loss of traits sounds like Michael Behe’s “devolution” theory, as lais out in his book “Darwin Devolves”. Evolution by tossing out unnecessary features and functions (and hence genetic information) – the opposite of Darwinian evolution!

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