Saturday, October 08, 2011

Ancient Plants

 
The Botany Photo of the Day site is currently covering fossil plants. One of them is Cooksonia pertoni. There's a nice picture of the fossil and a photo of a reconstruction from the Evolution House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (shown here).

This species dates from about 400 million years ago and it shows what a primitive vascular plant looked like. It has no leaves, only a branching stalk with sporangia at the tips.

I often wonder what the Intelligent Design Creationists think when they see fossils like Cooksonia. Do they imagine that the intelligent designer built them over 400 million years ago then gradually modified them over the next 400 million years or so to produce modern flowers and trees? Do they think that the sporangia are examples of specified complexity that he/she/it simply abandoned for a better design later on?


5 comments :

  1. I often wonder what the Intelligent Design Creationists think when they see fossils like Cooksonia.

    "Oh gosh, look at this fantastic piece of engineering! Does it have flagella?"

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  2. Creationist:

    "Well....ummm, in the deluge, small plants like these would be buried first, so we would expect to find them further down in the ground than larger, more familiar, modern plants."

    IDiot:

    "Are you kidding this looks chalk full of complexed specified information! Also, how did life begin? Huh?"

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  3. I love Cooksonia!
    It is one of three things, which made me interested (again) in evolution (and the rest of biology).

    The other two are Anomalocaris (which I love too) and ID creationism (I know - it's strange, but it's true. And of course I don't love ID).

    PS. I didn't mention dinosaurs, because they are boring ;).

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  4. I see your point Larry, but sporangia were never abandoned. Bryophytes, lycopods, horsetails and ferns are doing very well with them.

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  5. "I often wonder what the Intelligent Design Creationists think ..."

    Maybe that's your mistake. Actually, it is an urban legend that they actually engage in thought, at least as commonly understood by rational beings.

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