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Flowering Plant Big Bang

See the story here.

From the ubiquitous daisy to the fantastical orchid, flowering plant species are as diverse as they are numerous.  It turns out that these bloomers went through an evolutionary “Big Bang” of sorts some 130 million years ago . . . “Flowering plants today comprise around 400,000 species,” said Pam Soltis, curator at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History. “To think that the burst that gave rise to almost all of these plants occurred in less than 5 million years is pretty amazing — especially when you consider that flowering plants as a group have been around for at least 130 million years.” . . .  From the length of the diagrams’ branches along with known rates of genetic change, the teams estimated that three lineages went through a major diversification in an evolutionary “blink of an eye.”  As for the cause of the explosion of plant diversity, that’s still a floral mystery. Perhaps a major climatic event was the trigger, the researchers suggest.”

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17 Responses to Flowering Plant Big Bang

  1. 1

    BarryA

    The estimate of 5 million years (and similar estimates for the duration of the Cambrian big-bang of animal phyla) is really just an upper bound, isn’t it? I assume that is just the accuracy with which the beginning and end of the big bang can be dated, is that correct or not?

  2. 2
    sagebrush gardener

    As for the cause of the explosion of plant diversity, that’s still a floral mystery.

    Sigh…

    “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is in for one hell of a rough ride.”

    – Robert Heinlein

  3. Granville

    The estimate of 5 million years (and similar estimates for the duration of the Cambrian big-bang of animal phyla) is really just an upper bound, isn’t it

    I believe you are correct, see the quote below from the article Barry linked to.

    “Flowering plants today comprise around 400,000 species,” said Pam Soltis, curator at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History. “To think that the burst that gave rise to almost all of these plants occurred in less than 5 million years is pretty amazing — especially when you consider that flowering plants as a group have been around for at least 130 million years.

  4. I saw this article on Livescience.com, and I was hoping it would make UD. This burst of variety phenomenon is a clear pattern of nature. It is very consistent with an ID hypothesis, but a terrible fith with the current paradyme.

  5. The title says: Evolutionary ‘Big Bang’ of Created Florist’s Paradise. It should read ‘Evolutionary’ Big Bang of Created Florist’s Paradise.

    What does this say about the front loading hypothesis. Wouldn’t that require some time to work out? It seems to me that the first creative act was a big bang, and all creative acts after that were of the same type, right down to the last creative act which resulted in mankind. Also, this patten doesn’t seem to support common descent that som ID scientists ascribe to.

  6. At one of the few petrified forests that sports ginkgo wood, I was told by the naturalist that ginkgos are old in the fossil record—they date from the Permian back when trees were first “invented”. She said that there are a number of species of fossilized Ginkgoaceae, with Ginkgo biloba, the only living species, being one of them.

    So there you are—diversity at the beginning followed by extinctions and long stasis in that which survived.

  7. Does it strike anyone else strange that we’ve got massive tomes about the state of affairs three seconds after the big bang, but can’t get an accurate sentence about next week’s weather?

    What do we really know about the flowering plants of 130 million years ago? Nothing. Nothing at all.

  8. Gerry Rzeppa,
    I don’t think we know nothing, but I get your point. Life over millions of years involves at least as many variables as the weather next week.

  9. Lazarus: #9

    Are you aware that the academy, the press, and even the government have all slandered and smeared ID scientists and used every means available to ruin their careers? Are you aware that these slanders and smears are part of a broader strategy to use the researchers religious faith as pretext for accusing them of practicing faith-based science, ignoring the fact that the science itself cannot logically be faith based? Are you aware that these same institutions quote people like you to keep the lie alive? Are you aware that religion and science are totally compatible because the creator God, whom you claim to believe in, revealed himself in Scripture AND IN NATURE–so you anti-science screeds are not only anti-Christian, they are moronic.

    If you are NOT aware of these things, then you are a naïve, possibly nominal Christian. You disregard your own teaching, which bids believers to “be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.” Indeed, if you think that God did not “leave clues” for scientists to find, you don’t even read your own bible.

    If you ARE aware of these things, then you are an anti-Christian bigot, seeking to harass other bloggers on this site and disrupt the logical flow of ideas. This would indicate that you need to get a life.

    Under the circumstances, then, I offer a conditional piece of advice.

    If you are a Christian, go to you dictionary and look up the word, ”proportionality.” Christian bloggers on this site no doubt do take their faith seriously, but they are not ideologues. That is why they instinctively use good judgment about introducing religious themes as a complement to scientific discoveries.

    If you are a troll, which is more likely, start studying the science of intelligent design. I have found that the vast majority of those who criticize intelligent design cannot even define the relevant terms accurately, which means, of course, that, in spite of their arrogance, they seldom know what they are talking about. They embody the dubious virtue of “triumphant stupidity.”

    So, whether you are real or phony, the solution to your problem is to make a disciplined effort to get a clue. Educated people do not spend all their time googling; they actually read books.. Also, while reading your Bible, meditate on this one: “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”

  10. StephenB, when it comes to Lazarus (Solon raised from the dead) we have three options”
    1 – Respond to him in any way, derailing more perfectly good threads.
    2 – Petition the powers to have him blocked.
    3 – Actively ignore him.

    I vote stringly for 2 or 3.

    Everyone with me? Let’s ignore Lazarus!

  11. bFast #11):

    “2 – Petition the powers to have him blocked.
    3 – Actively ignore him.
    I vote stringly for 2 or 3.
    Everyone with me? Let’s ignore Lazarus!”

    Add my vote. I’ve already done them.

  12. Lazarus, please do not comment on my posts. If you do, I will remove them as I have done on this one.

    BarryA

  13. Great Job BarryA, Lazarus is an idiot not because he/she is a true believer but because Lazarus NEVER offers anything intellectually redeeming. I was insulted by Lazarus as was every ID proponent when Lazarus called us all “metaphysical masturbators” on another post. I think Lazarus also could be a Darwinian Evolutionist just trying to make a mockery out ID proponents. The bottom line is this. I have no problem with true believers and no problems with people posting comments that are against the theory of ID but I want intellectual dialogue not ad hominem attacks and religious assertions and disrespectful comments fallowed by disinterest in the theory. As far as I can tell Lazarus really has no business on this site at all.

  14. Stephenb- (They embody the dubious virtue of “triumphant stupidity.”)

    Hahaha. Great line. I can really relate to this. Anti-ID people just say creationist and think they won the debate. Or they say there is no theory and then you talk about SC, No Free Lunch, IC, DNA digital code ETC. and they go “HUH? this is all proven by Darwinism.” They never even read anything on the topic of ID except the few of that that read books by Sagan and Dawkins or Millar. They only read one side and are thoroughly disinterested in the truth of the matter. To them its all about politics and feelings not facts, science, truth and arguments. The most important thing that I head Stephen Meyer’s says in this debate right here http://video.google.com/videop.....;plindex=0 that ID is not solely about a view of origins. Its about the scientific approaches to all things from engineering to disease. Meyers gives as an example a scientist that is using a design perspective to look for cures to diseases by trying to reverse engineer certain bugs. In this debate there are classic examples of Peter Ward saying ID is not a theory after Meyers explains clearly that it is. Then Ward says its not a testable theory and Meyers explicitly names tests. Then Ward just ignores the first two points and goes back to repeating his groundless and disproved assertions.

  15. BarryA’s statement is not absolutely correct. the 20’000 or so grass species originated in a more recent Big Bang approx. 60 million years ago.
    it seems that there have been several big bangs during earth’s history.

  16. 16

    Peter said,

    What does this say about the front loading hypothesis

    The flowering plants and their pollinators — e.g., bees — are mutually dependent on each other and so would have had to instantly appear at the same time. Some pollen is carried by wind or water but these kinds of pollen are quite a bit different from pollen carried by pollinators.

    I have said many times that co-evolution — the mutual evolution of co-dependent organisms — is a dilemma for evolution because in co-evolution, unlike in evolutionary adaptation to widespread fixed physical features of the environment, e.g., water, land, air, and climate, there may be nothing to adapt to because the corresponding co-dependent trait in the other organism may be initially absent.

  17. Granville:

    The estimate of 5 million years (and similar estimates for the duration of the Cambrian big-bang of animal phyla) is really just an upper bound, isn’t it?

    I believe this is the case, and it is interesting that these upper bounds tend to shrink with more data and more accurate dating techniques. It seems to me that these biological explosions might have been essentially instantaneous (as appears to be case with the appearance of many new living forms throughout the fossil record) but the margin of error associated with dating techniques only allows a time window to be specified.

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