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Old 04-12-2018, 05:58 PM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Zone: 9a
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Location: Glendale, CA
Age: 41
Posts: 543
Evolution Male
Default Evolution

I really love evolution. From my very biased perspective, orchids are the poster child of evolution, they are just so wonderfully diverse! Just now I used them as an example in a discussion/debate about evolution...


One would think that man could find enough variation in the orchid family, as it occurs in nature, to more than satiate his taste for variety. Yet manís appetite for variety is never appeased. He has produced over two times as many hybrids, in the past 100 years that he has been engaged in orchid breeding, as nature has created species in her eons of evolutionary effort. ó Calaway H. Dodson, Robert J. Gillespie, The Botany of Orchids
There are around 30,000 different species of orchids. Each species consists of thousands and thousands of different individuals. No two orchids are exactly alike, except for the clones made by man.

Whatís the point of all this variation? WellÖ it means that the orchid family has really hedged its bets. Thereís incredible variation within the family in terms of tolerance to heat and drought. So if the climate in the future happens to be hotter and drier, the most heat and drought tolerant orchids will have a competitive advantage, and they will ensure the continued survival of the orchid family. The huge amount of variation within the orchid family helps it to quickly adapt to changing conditions.

For more than a century humans have been hybridizing orchids. Now there are more than twice as many hybrid orchids as species. This has greatly increased the amount of variation within the orchid family, which makes it even more adaptable.

Iím guessing that if you walked into an orchid nursery youíd be overwhelmed by the number of orchids to choose from. But when I walk into my favorite orchid nursery, Iím as happy as a kid in a candy store. Our different reactions to the incredible variety of orchids can be explained by the variation in our interest in orchids. We are unequally interested in orchids. Iím far more interested in orchids than you are, so Iíve spent lots of time learning about them, which is why Iím overjoyed, rather than overwhelmed, when Iím confronted with a huge variety of orchids to choose from.

Except for the man-made clones, orchids are all differentÖ some orchids are delicate creatures that require greenhouse conditions, while others are far more resilient and can thrive in challenging conditions. Just like orchids are all different, people are also all different. Some people are more irrational, illogical and uninformed than others. Some people are better than others at simultaneously carrying, both physically and mentally, many different things.


If anybody is interested, here's the context... and here's where the exchange began.
Epiphytes and Economics!
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family, iím, orchid, orchids, variation

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