Saturday, October 08, 2011
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?