December 1, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Flowering Plants Do Big Bang in Darwin’s Face

There’s a big bang in botany.  The flowering plants, reported Science Daily, “evolved very quickly into five groups.
    The claim is based on the investigation of plant genes by scientists in Florida.  Their work “showed that a stunning diversification of flowering plants they are referring to as the ‘Big Bang’ took place in the comparatively short period of less than 5 million years — and resulted in all five major lineages of flowering plants that exist today.
    In both the fossil record and the genes, the picture is one of abrupt appearance followed by stasis, without any recognizable cause:

“Flowering plants today comprise around 400,000 species,” said Pam Soltis.  “So to think that the burst that give [sic] 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.”
   Robert Jansen, professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin, said the two papers set the stage for all future comparative studies of flowering plants.
    “If you are interested in understanding the evolution of flowering plants, you can’t do that unless you understand their relationships,” he said.
    Botanists predating Darwin have long recognized that flowering plants, which comprise at least 60 percent of all green plant species, diversified abruptly shortly after they appeared.
    “The details, and especially the cause of, this diversification — Darwin’s “abominable mystery” — has been a hot topic in botany ever since.
    “One of the reasons why it’s been hard to understand evolutionary relationships among the major groups of flowering plants is because they diversified over such a short time frame,” Jansen said.

The scientists cross-checked their phylogenetic tree built by comparative genomics against the fossil record, and sure enough, the emergence was rapid.  The cause of this rapid diversification was called “mysterious.”  Twice the article referred to the fact that Darwin called the abrupt appearance of flowering plants an “abominable mystery.”  Two papers from the work were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Boring.  Same cop-out for 160 years.  They see creation, and call it evolution.  The only mystery here is why they get away with it.

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