Slipper orchid evolution: does anyone care?

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VAAlbert

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Guido, Guido, Guido!

Your comments are as hard to address, in many ways, as the question:

"What proof have we that God did not create the Universe, or the Earth, or orchids, and that He did all of this exactly 4,444 years ago?"

In terms of data and methods, of course I can provide these, but they will never staisfy the eternal skeptic who asks for the ultimate proof. Like nearly every evolutionary biologist, I work in the realm of hypotheses and their evaluation. Not in generating proof.

To say we "don't have a clue" is to maintain that nothing short of The Truth, in the non-agnostic sense, is acceptable. Of course we have clues.

Re:

"Orchid origins and adaptations: Some botanists say the degree to which orchid genera readily hybridise with one another indicates orchids are very recently evolved. They declare orchids must be very young in evolutionary terms as evidenced by the genetic compatibility of so many genera. Others insist the ubiquitous presence of orchids worldwide is best explained if orchid ancestors cam from Pangea - the ancient , single continent from which today's landmasses split, 225 million years ago. Mysteriously, the fossil record can validate neither theory. There simply are no confirmed fossilised orchids - not even seed or pollen microfossils. The prevailing theory that orchids split off from the modern lilies, which some resemble, has been staggered by recent DNA analyses, which designate asparagus as orchids' closest cousin."
What scientists like to *think* (flail their arms) about hybridization, Pangaea, has nothing to do with *objectively obtained data and analyses* that do indeed suggest that Orchidaceae belongs in the order Asparagales, not next to Asparagus, but too far away from it in phylogenetic terms.

Which parts of genomes used, and how the data are analyzed are of course legitimate, potential shortcomings that can be discussed -- but we are far from not having a clue, far from looking for proof, far from satisfying the eternal skeptic, and I will not present such material if that will be the constant reply.

Best regards,

Vic
 

VAAlbert

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kentuckiense said:
I'd like to hear thoughts on my observations about P. bellatulum and P. concolor(and the other Brachys but to a lesser extent).

When I look at the above two species, I see a clutch of bird eggs.
I think this is fascinating! I think I recall that Paph concolor has been described by some as having a 'rotting' or 'rancid butter' smell, but I have never sniffed one with this in mind. If my memory served (and I can't remember the source), this could provide circumstantial evidence for your idea. Now, go into the field and look at brachys and birds' nests! Bird nest /egg mimicry would probably be one of the ultimate in terms of wacky pollination syndromes in all flowering plants!

All best,

V
 
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Braem

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Victor,

I knew you would like my post :evil:

By the way, it was the 15th of October if I am not mistaken, and Usher and the vice-chairman of Cambridge University quarelled about whether it was at 7in the morning or at noon. (If anyone needs the exact date, I will look it up - there is this most magnificent book "Before Darwin").

But lets get serious. I am afraid you are doing what all religious people do: simply saying "Well how do you proof me wrong?"
That won't do in science. (And by the way, I could bring that proof as far as the creation thing, but then I would get all the religious people on this forum on my back.)

What I am simple asking is: tell me what you are doing. Tell me how you are doing it, and tell me how you come to your interpretations of your results. If you want me (and others) to believe that "molecular systematics" makes sense. Prove it.

If I tell you: "the leaf is 7cm wide by 3 cm long" it is something everyone can measure and say, well, Guido did not have his best day (if my measurements were wrong). Now do the same thing with your DNA studies.

More later, the boss is calling

Guido




VAAlbert said:
Guido, Guido, Guido!

Your comments are as hard to address, in many ways, as the question:

"What proof have we that God did not create the Universe, or the Earth, or orchids, and that He did all of this exactly 4,444 years ago?"

In terms of data and methods, of course I can provide these, but they will never staisfy the eternal skeptic who asks for the ultimate proof. Like nearly every evolutionary biologist, I work in the realm of hypotheses and their evaluation. Not in generating proof.

To say we "don't have a clue" is to maintain that nothing short of The Truth, in the non-agnostic sense, is acceptable. Of course we have clues.

Re:



What scientists like to *think* (flail their arms) about hybridization, Pangaea, has nothing to do with *objectively obtained data and analyses* that do indeed suggest that Orchidaceae belongs in the order Asparagales, not next to Asparagus, but too far away from it in phylogenetic terms.

Which parts of genomes used, and how the data are analyzed are of course legitimate, potential shortcomings that can be discussed -- but we are far from not having a clue, far from looking for proof, far from satisfying the eternal skeptic, and I will not present such material if that will be the constant reply.

Best regards,

Vic
 

gonewild

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kentuckiense said:
I'd like to hear thoughts on my observations about P. bellatulum and P. concolor(and the other Brachys but to a lesser extent).

When I look at the above two species, I see a clutch of bird eggs. The spots, the petal/sepal shapes, and the prostrate/pendant/short inflorescences just really bring that image to mind. In addition, don't the Brachypetalums tend to grow on limestone cliffs or something of that nature? It would seem like such a place would be a popular place for birds to nest.

Anyway, the point is that bird nest are places that I would think a fly would love to visit. There would be fecal matter, possibly broken eggs, and even dead chicks. By mimicing a clutch of eggs, a bloom could attract the same flies that would be attracted the those eggs.

I know it's all simple speculation, but does anyone find this to be plausible at all? Have bellatulum/concolor pollination mechanisms been studied? Does anyone know what the eggs of the local birds look like?
I think your idea is very good. It makes a lot of sense. A bird nest mimic could and would attract many different types of pollinators other than flies.
 

kentuckiense

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gonewild said:
I think your idea is very good. It makes a lot of sense. A bird nest mimic could and would attract many different types of pollinators other than flies.
Glad to hear I'm not totally crazy. Another forumite and I are trying to gather some info.
 

gonewild

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kentuckiense said:
Glad to hear I'm not totally crazy. Another forumite and I are trying to gather some info.
Yeah! and totally based on reality :rollhappy:

Your bird nest concept struck a familiar thought I had when we first went to Peru. I looked up into a spray of large Catasetum flowers and what I saw looked just like a baby bird with it's mouth open waiting to be fed. It occurred to me that the flower was mimicking a baby bird waiting for it's momma to stuff an insect in. The flowers had perfect baby bird beaks complete with the fleshy side parts. If the flower was to be pollinated by an insect it would need to be a totally stupid bug to go in there! I'm going to go see if I can find a photo to post.
 

Rick

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kentuckiense said:
Glad to hear I'm not totally crazy. Another forumite and I are trying to gather some info.
Right now I'm betting that if brachys aren't pollinated by hover flys (which aren't carion feeders) they are pollinated by euglosine bees (like parvies).

Cyp guttatum (pollinated by bees) does not have a strong resemblance to other (non orchid) flowers, but has a nice contrasting pattern that is attractive to bees. I think the brachy pattern would also qualify as bee happy. It also has a general structure that is more paph like than cyp like.

Within genera there is a strong conservatism for the type of pollinators used by the species within a genus. Within Paphs we are already seeing 2 different groups of pollinators, and adding carrion flys would add a 3rd group (which I think would be 2 more groups than other orchid genera utilize).
 

gonewild

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OK I found some bird mimic photos. I don't want to change the subject from the Paph bird nest theory but rather offer it some support from another genera on a different Continent.

Forgive the poor photo, this image was taken before mega pixels were invented. The Catasetums grow in trees and their spikes hang downward. Each flower is about the size of a live baby bird. Many birds in the habitat enter the nest from below to feed the babies so the downward facing flower could be just like a real bird. The person the flower looks exactly like a baby bird begging to be fed.

This is a male flower where the pollen would be picked up.



Here is the female flower where the pollen would be deposited. To me the female flowers look like big spiders which a bird may try to grab to feed to it's young. The act of grabbing the female flower may deposit pollen a bird picked up while trying to feed the male flower.

 

kentuckiense

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Rick said:
Within genera there is a strong conservatism for the type of pollinators used by the species within a genus. Within Paphs we are already seeing 2 different groups of pollinators, and adding carrion flys would add a 3rd group (which I think would be 2 more groups than other orchid genera utilize).
Any word on what pollinates section Trigonopedia of Cypripedium? To me, that seems to scream carrion.
 

Rick

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gonewild said:
I think your idea is very good. It makes a lot of sense. A bird nest mimic could and would attract many different types of pollinators other than flies.
If you loose your specificity then the odds of pollinaton are very low.

The Cyp guttatum paper by Banziger is very good. Of the 10 bee species found at the site only 3-5 species showed enough interest to enter the flowers, and about 80% of succesful pollen aquisition was by only 1 species. So that's fairly specific, and should ensure that the aquired pollen will end up back in another guttatum.

I should add that all the identified bees visiting the flowers were female too.
 
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Rick

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kentuckiense said:
Any word on what pollinates section Trigonopedia of Cypripedium? To me, that seems to scream carrion.
Naw!! To me they scream ground bees.:poke: :poke:

Actually a couple of them do look alot like brachys as far as spotting goes.
 

Rick

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kentuckiense said:
Ok then. Are there bees that would be attracted to carrion?
Holger Perner recently put a couple of articles in Orchids on Chinese Cyps. I'll email him and see if he knows what pollinates these guys.
 

kentuckiense

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Rick said:
Holger Perner recently put a couple of articles in Orchids on Chinese Cyps. I'll email him and see if he knows what pollinates these guys.
Now he'd be a good guy to talk to. Good call.
 

VAAlbert

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Braem said:
If you want me (and others) to believe that "molecular systematics" makes sense. Prove it.
Really, I could care less. I've been here for fun; this isn't.

Vic
 

Rick

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kentuckiense said:
Now he'd be a good guy to talk to. Good call.
His first response was he didn't know, but suspected flys (didn't specify hover or carrion types). I asked back to specify fly guess and whether they had foul odors.
 
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Braem

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Dear Victor,

fine. That is a statement we can all work with. And as far as I know now through your statement, the criticism I have had all along, and phrased as early as 1994 in Fukuoka stands.

In any scientific field, you have to prove what you are doing. The question now is, why don't you want to?

I thought this who tread is to clarify questions on taxonomy. Not to amuse anyone. But maybe I was mistaken.

regards
Guido


VAAlbert said:
Really, I could care less. I've been here for fun; this isn't.

Vic
 

Rick

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kentuckiense said:
Any word on what pollinates section Trigonopedia of Cypripedium? To me, that seems to scream carrion.
Well Holger wrote back that he has seen "dung flys" using C sichuanense, and a "small black fly going into C. bardolphianum". There is another species in another section that is also an "obligate self polinator". He's got a very cool website on his Cyp preserve in China.

So this group of Cyps may have gone to the dark side for using generic garbage flys.
 

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