May 12, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

David Attenborough Finds Living Fossil Tree Romantic, Not Devastating

England’s famous Kew Royal Botanical Gardens is getting a Wollemi Pine, and David Attenborough, naturalist and evolution popularist, is proud of it.  This “living fossil” was thought extinct for 200 million years, but was found alive and well a few years ago in Australia (see 12/15/2000 entry).
    Grinning like a kid at Christmas, Attenborough said, “How marvellous and exciting that we should have discovered this rare survivor from such an ancient past.  It is romantic, I think, that something has survived 200 million years unchanged.”  See the story at the BBC News.  Some day soon you may be able to buy your own Wollemi Pine at the local nursery.

Here is a tree that showed no evolution whatsoever for supposedly 200 million years, while continents broke apart and most of the mammals evolved from small rodents to elephants, whales, giraffes and people, and Attenborough isn’t worried that this does some damage to his world view?  Bizarre.  Logically, he should be questioning whether 200 million years was just a figment of Lyellian imagination.  The BBC should be announcing: Wollemi lives; evolution extinct.

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Categories: Botany, Fossils

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