To: All Msg #118, Jan3193 01:11PM Subject: embryos, plants and a tangential rant In articl
From: Chris Colby
To: All Msg #118, Jan-31-93 01:11PM
Subject: embryos, plants and a tangential rant
Organization: animal -- coelomate -- deuterostome
From: email@example.com (Chris Colby)
In article <1993Jan29.firstname.lastname@example.org> rh@ishmael.UUCP (Richard Harter)
>My speculation is the development
>of a general mechanism for embryology was a one time rare event.
Plants also develop from embryos. To the best of my knowledge (*),
other lineages of multi-cellular life do not. Fungi don't. Neither
do red, green or brown algae (kelp, seaweed, etc. -- all protists).
Of course, embryos in plants and animals are analogous (not homologous)
structures -- they evolved at separate times (animals >600 MYA --
plants ~440 MYA) and in separate lineages (animals may have evolved
from choanoflagellates although this point is debated (some think
only sponges evolved from choanos and the rest of the animals
evolved from ciliates) -- plants evolved from green algae)).
(*) I'm getting this info from Raven, Evert and Eichhorn, Biology
of Plants: Fifth Edition, 1992, Worth Publishers, New York
On a random tangent, the above is a great biology book. In addition to
the stuff on plants (lots of material on the structure and life cycles
of various kingdoms - I read the book on a plane a few months ago and
jotted down which divisions had what traits and what do you know? --
a nice nested distribution! (I wonder what that means 8-)?), it also
has a chapter on fungi and a few chapters on protists. A great
reference for anything about plants.
Continuing on an ever more tangential point -- the book does, however,
define evolution wrong (although it gets selection right). Larry was
right about the ideas of evolution really getting butchered by the
time they make it out to the popular audience. I was in a bookstore the
other day with my girlfriend and I looked at 4 dictionaries of biology
and _every single one_ defined evolution and natural selection wrong.
One had natural selection only applying to animals (and by way of
differential viability only) --- ARGHH!. What the hell? If the
idiots who publish these things don't know the definitions,
why don't they look them up? I wondered that until I looked at a few
of the intro to biology texts -- they all defined evolution wrong!
(although the definitions for selection weren't too awful). This, of
course, started me on a nice little rant (and if there's one thing my
girlfriend likes, it's when I start ranting about evolution 8-) about
how someone could be actually interested in learning something about
evolution, and still get a totally bogus explanation _even if they
consulted books which one would assume are scientific_! Double ARGHHH!
It's bad enough that evolution gets intentionally distorted by
creationists, but it's worse (IMHO) when biologists outside the
field can't make the minimal effort to either a.) understand it or
b.) not write about it.
After I was done ranting, I bought a book of all the short
stories the Frank O'Connor ever wrote. I especially like his
story "Guests of the Nation".
Chris Colby --- email: email@example.com ---
"'My boy,' he said, 'you are descended from a long line of determined,
resourceful, microscopic tadpoles--champions every one.'"
--Kurt Vonnegut from "Galapagos"
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank