To: All Msg #118, Jan3193 01:11PM Subject: embryos, plants and a tangential rant In articl

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From: Chris Colby To: All Msg #118, Jan-31-93 01:11PM Subject: embryos, plants and a tangential rant Organization: animal -- coelomate -- deuterostome From: (Chris Colby) Message-ID: <> Newsgroups: In article <> rh@ishmael.UUCP (Richard Harter) writes: >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: --- "'My boy,' he said, 'you are descended from a long line of determined, resourceful, microscopic tadpoles--champions every one.'" --Kurt Vonnegut from "Galapagos"


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