Coming to Grips with Wobbly Flowers

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Coming to grips with wobbly flowers reported in ScienceDaily 29 May 2012 and Functional Ecology, Vol. 26, pages 941–947, August 2012. Many flower petals have cone shaped cells on the surface of their petals.  For flowers odd shape, such as snapdragons, this enables bees to grip the surface without falling off.  However, many flowers that have a simple bowl shape also have cone shaped cells. A group of scientists from Cambridge and Bristol Universities suggested the cone cells helped the bees when the flowers moved in the wind. They tested their theory by presenting bees with normal petunias with conical cells and mutant petunias with flat cells mounted on a device that moved them, and compared how often the bees returned to forage from the flowers. The bees preferred the flowers with cones.
They then tested the bees with different coloured flowers – a bright coloured variety and a dark dull coloured variety.  When the flowers were still the bees preferred the brightly coloured flowers, but when the flowers were moving the bees went for less visually attractive flowers with conical petals rather than brightly coloured flowers with flat cells.  The researchers concluded: “The selective pressure from pollinators choosing conical-celled flowers when flowers are moving in the wind provides an explanation for the persistence of conical cells in so many diverse angiosperm species across evolutionary time.”
Link: ScienceDaily
 
Editorial. Comment: This is a good description of what natural selection actually does – it preserves things that work. Natural selection is real, but as well as preserving things that work, it will eliminate things that don’t work. However, it does not create anything that did not already exist; i.e. it will not result in evolution.  If flowers had flat cells, it wouldn’t matter how many bees fell off them, the flowers could not make cone cells unless the correct genetic information for cones was added and that can only happen after a creative intelligence invents the information and inserts it in a way that works with the rest of the plant’s genes. Don’t want to sound sarcastic, but it just happens to be much more logical to believe plants that need insects to pollinate them were created with petals with just the right surface cells to facilitate this, by the Creator who made both the plants and the insects. (Ref. botany, pollination, fertilisation)
 
Evidence News 16 August 2012

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