Intelligent Design Plants stasis

Stanford: Plants evolved complexity in two rapid bursts — 250 million years apart

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Plants evolved complexity in two bursts -- with a 250-million-year hiatus
An African lily (Agapanthus africanus) flower is broken into component parts. According to a new classification of plant complexity, an African lily has 12 types of parts in its reproductive structure, some of which are on the seed or inside the ovary and not pictured here. In comparison, a typical fern has one type of reproductive part. (Photo credit: Andrew Leslie). Credit: Andrew Leslie

Rather than a long slow march of evolution:

A Stanford-led study reveals that rather than evolving gradually over hundreds of millions of years, land plants underwent major diversification in two dramatic bursts, 250 million years apart. The first occurred early in plant history, giving rise to the development of seeds, and the second took place during the diversification of flowering plants.

The research uses a novel but simple metric to classify plant complexity based on the arrangement and number of basic parts in their reproductive structures. While scientists have long assumed that plants became more complex with the advent of seeds and flowers, the new findings, published Sept. 17 in Science, offer insight to the timing and magnitude of those changes.

“The most surprising thing is this kind of stasis, this plateau in complexity after the initial evolution of seeds and then the total change that happened when flowering plants started diversifying,” said lead study author Andrew Leslie, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). “The reproductive structures look different in all these plants, but they all have about the same number of parts during that stasis.”

Stanford University, “Plants evolved complexity in two bursts—with a 250-million-year hiatus” at Phys.org (September 16, 2021)

I

t would be less surprising if researchers were less committed to the the Darwinian claim:

It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.

The paper is closed access.

8 Replies to “Stanford: Plants evolved complexity in two rapid bursts — 250 million years apart

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    “When land plants first diversified in the early Devonian about 420 million to 360 million years ago, Earth was a warmer world ….”

    Environmentalists HATE PLANTS. They want to deprive plants of food and warmth.

    The article skids past the question of why bees bothered to “evolve” wings and honey and electrostatic field detection abilities before plants provided the other end of these abilities, or why plants bothered to “evolve” color and nectar and controlled static fields before there were any bees to appreciate these abilities.

    Seeds don’t involve a both-and problem. Seeds can be spread by wind, so animals aren’t needed. But the immense complexity of building an entire plant in condensed form wouldn’t have offered any real advantage. Spreading by stolons works pretty well for modern plants. A mat of grass can spread indefinitely, creating its own soil as it goes.

  2. 2
    martin_r says:

    let me add this, from Wikipedia:

    It is estimated that the class of insects originated on Earth about 480 million years ago, in the Ordovician, at about the same time terrestrial (land) plants appeared.

    “at about the same time terrestrial (land) plants appeared. ” …. such a coincidence …
    By now we know, that Darwinian fantasy world is full of series of lucky events, lots of coincidences and of course – rapid bursts …

  3. 3
    martin_r says:

    Polistra, you mentioned that seeds can be spread by wind/animals….

    I run a blog focused on repeated (convergent) evolution. One of the most extreme example of repeated evolution is a phenomenon called Myrmecochory (seeds dispersal by ants).

    Darwinians claim, that Myrmecochory should have evolved up to 150 times repeatedly / independently in various lineages of plants….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrmecochory

    Seriously, who can buy this non-sense ?

  4. 4
    tjguy says:

    “It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.”

    This is such bunk! Natural selection is not a person with intelligence. It cannot search anything. As Dr. John Sanford wrote, there is much stuff that flies below the radar of natural selection. In other words, the changes wrought by the mutation are neutral or so near neutral that it really does not affect survival enough to be selected for. So “even the slightest” is a bit of an overstatement. Many slight changes go unnoticed and unselected. It does not care whether organisms improve or devolve. Sometimes harmful mistakes are selected because of an unexpected side benefit that outweighs the negative. Natural selection can weed out the bad stuff, but it cannot create anything new. It works simply with what is already there. It’s really amazing that this fairy tale of evolution has gained so much traction in our society today and it’s the intellectual elites who are the ones who are most deceived.

  5. 5

    People should look into Kleinman’s reformulation of natural selection theory. That should be made into a topic on uncommon descent.

    https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2021/09/evaluating-alan-kleinmans-arguments.html

    He splits natural selection into an absolute, and relative part. Doing this he can then use the absolute interpretation of natural selection to calculate the probability of finding a beneficial mutation, by simple engineering mathematics.

    Which is practically useful for calculating resistance to anti-biotics etc.

    Basically the general advise he gives is that multi-drug therapies are better than single drug regimens, because the probability of succesful evolutionary trajectories of the disease is then exponentially lower.

    Currently most advise given is single drug therapies, because evolutionary biologists cannot do the basic mathematics of it, because they confuse absolute numbers with relative numbers.

    On a purely philosophical basis, I also came to similar conclusions as Kleinman independently. That natural selection should be redefined as reproductive selection (absolute), and competitive reproductive selection (relative).

  6. 6
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Polistra

    The article skids past the question of why bees bothered to “evolve” wings and honey and electrostatic field detection abilities before plants provided the other end of these abilities, or why plants bothered to “evolve” color and nectar and controlled static fields before there were any bees to appreciate these abilities.

    Add to that the process of pollination itself. Pollen has to be transferred from the male part of the plant to the female and the plant relies on multiple sources of external pollinators – bees, insects, animals, random wind. How is that a stable strategy for survival? Forget even thinking about a gradualist development.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    martin_r

    I run a blog focused on repeated (convergent) evolution. One of the most extreme example of repeated evolution is a phenomenon called Myrmecochory (seeds dispersal by ants).

    I’m betting that convergent evolution is claimed for flying seeds of various kinds: helicopter seeds, parachute seeds, gliders, ultra-light seeds. Plants all dwelling in the same environment – side by side in the same field, all getting the same nutrients — using multiple methods of seed dispersal.

  8. 8

    “: … and plants underwent major diversification in two dramatic bursts, 250 million years apart. The first occurred early in plant history, giving rise to the development of seeds.”
    Is this statement as ridiculous as it sounds? “Development of seeds” For what purpose?

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