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How the Venus Flytrap Evolved

Charles Darwin was fascinated with the Venus Flytrap and other carnivorous plants. How did such a thing arise through natural selection? Botanists Don Waller and Thomas Gibson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison believe they have figured it out. The Venus Flytrap descended from an earlier plant that had sticky leaves that acted as flypaper.
First the ancestral plant must have adapted to move its tentacles and leaves in a particular direction, giving it a greater chance of sticking to and engulfing a passing insect.

Next it sped up how quickly it detected prey and tried to respond.

Then the plant would have had to find a way to become selective, so it only tried to trap live prey and not any detritus that landed upon it.

Finally, it must have evolved its tentacles into sensory hairs and teeth that detect and wrap around prey, respectively, while also losing its sticky glands and growing new digestive glands capable of digesting the victim's corpse.

The adaptations led to the plant's ability to eat larger insects for more nutrition. Link -via the Presurfer

I did my A-level biology project on sundews (drosera species) and I can see the resemblance. There's a lot in common between them and I could easily imagine sundews heading that way.
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As with most evolutionary findings, the scientists present no evidence to support their story of how the plants changed from one into the other. They just assume the changes happened, then try to explain how it might have happened.

If you look at evolutionary theory objectively, the supposed proofs are not at all convincing. However, I acknowledge that evolution (little e) does happen, but Evolution (big E) does not.
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Some people choose to become cave dwelling vagabonds, others choose to reject modern science and live mentally in the Dark Ages.

Evolution is a fact-based Theory (big T) and the proofs are quite "convincing" to all but the willfully dumb.
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Why would it evolve the only part truly beneficial to itself--the digesting of what it catches--last? In all the previous adaptations, what was the benefit that made this change profitable?
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>Evolution is a fact-based Theory (big T) and the proofs are quite “convincing” to all but the willfully dumb.

That doesn't help the discussion at all. First, proofs are for Math, not Science. Second calling people who disagree with you "willfully dumb" is anti-rational. Third, in this particular case there was certainly no proof, nor, more importantly, is there any evidence. There was just a made up story to fit the few facts we have. Realistically, we can't know how the Venus Flytrap evolved, all the evidence we would need to know that is gone. Plants don't leave nice fossil records. All we have are educated guesses. It's better than saying "God did it," but it's really not science, it's speculation, and should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

There are a lot of places where we can clearly illustrate evolution happening thanks mostly to the evidence of fossil records. This is not one of them.
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Finding a good adaptationist story is important, even though we must acknowledge its speculative status.
Because evolution can only proceed by small, incremental steps, figuring out what those steps might have been enable scientists to make novel predictions (about cladistics, genomics, the fossil record) even though the story they tell may not be verifiable directly.

The power of adaptionist inference can be illustrated by the following passage:

In 1976, the American biologist R.D. Alexander lectured on sterile castes. It was well know than these existed for ants, bees, and terminates, but not for any kind of vertebrate. Alexander, in a kind of thought-experiment, toyed with the notion of a mammal able to evolve a sterile caste.

[i.e., precisely the kind of speculative, adaptionist thinking that can serve as a predictive ground though the story itself has no evidential weight.]

It would, like the termintes, need an expandable next sllowing for an ample food supply and providing shelter from predators. For reasons of size, an underbark location was no good. But underground burrows replete with large tubers would fit the bill perfectly. The climate should be tropical; the soil clay. An ingenious exercise in armchair ecology, altogether.

[Alexander tells just the kind of story our Venus fly-trap people have told: evolution puts constraints on what is possible, so we can make some general predictions, if we're clever enough. That's how science works: you start with a theory, then test it. No one simply generalizes to a theory from data-points: data only makes sense within the context of a coherent theory, because it must be interpreted. But here's the kicker!]

But after his lecture, Alexander was told that his hypothetical beast did indeed live in Africa: it was the naked mole rat, a small rodent.

[Naked mole rats are eusocial, sterile-caste mammals that basically fit all the parameters Alexander outlined in his thought-experiment. Alexander was famous for giving "stories" on how insect societies might've evolved. His ability to predict, based on his reasoning, what a eusocial mammal might look it, and see that prediction vindincated, gives some evidence that he's on the right track. Science offers no certainties, of course, but that's not a bug, that's a feature.]
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I can't tell if these people are real or just sock-puppets. Everybody knows that it was created by dark lord Xenu. TEH POWER OF XENU COMPELLS YOU! You see, it was once called the Xenu's Fly try, but over time was lost in translation.
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Flame on Religious wars!

Seriously though I was looking for a more in depth explanation of why the plant moved to insects not that it just happened. I'm not even bringing into question Evolution or Religion (because I have a belief in both) I just want to know why it moved to insects. Can't I just get that info?
If the reasoning is it evolved from another carnivorous plant then that doesn't help.
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Henry Drummond: Do you think a sponge thinks?

Matthew Harrison Brady: If the Lord wishes a sponge to think, it thinks!

Henry Drummond: Does a man have the same privilege as a sponge?

Matthew Harrison Brady: Of course!

Henry Drummond: [Gesturing towards the defendant, Bertram Cates] Then this man wishes to have the same privilege of a sponge, he wishes to THINK!
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Whoa. I don't have a lot to say about the plant itself, but I work in an addition to the building that those two do research in. I have to go by their labs to go to the vending machines. I saw the nastiest giant cockroach outside one of them just the other day. :K
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The people least likely to find the theory of evolution to be valid are the most likely to believe that before Man was cast out of the garden of Eden, there was no death on earth. But then, how do they find a place for carnivorous plants, which they claim as designed by God (see above) to survive on the flesh of bugs?
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(For the record, I see no reason why any creator would not be able to use evolution as the mechanism of creation, and my argument here is not against any religious belief that does not place itself above observable reality.)
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@ozoozol - a supreme being would be able to do what he (or she) pleases, I'm sure, including using evolution as a mechanism of creation. The problem is that it goes against what's said in the Bible, and therefore church dogma. But I'm sure you already know that.
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Although not anywhere near the status or authority of these two, I think it seems much more likely that the earlier sticky plant surface trapped smaller prey like aphids and absorbed them as they deteriorated. Putting the development of digestive glands first and not last gives the plant a Darwinian reason to continue evolving more efficiently. Speculation beyond this point, but perhaps later, sensory hairs came about to, as described above, prevent any detritus from trying to be absorbed, whereas previously the sticky substance was constantly created. Perhaps this meant that more sticky substance was created to wash the detritus off and keep the section clear for an insect. From this, the use of sensory hairs follows pretty simply to two folds that would close in upon prey. This would allow absorption from two sides at once, leaving the plant open to feed again quickly. After this, the used insect corpse might be washed away by the excretion mentioned above. Then the development of teeth to prevent larger prey from escaping the two folds, et voila!
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-And then the no-longer-necessary sticky substance would be phased out, as it would be no longer necessary and simply a waste of resources.
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The venus fly trap evolved from a letter plant when that plant ate a poekmon power crystal.

(oh, and Misc - it wouldn't, not unless some random mutation caused it to stop producing the sticky fluid, and the new breed flourished more. This is why humans still have apendix and other species other useless things).
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Regarding bug-eating plants in the garden of eden: This is somewhat speculative as well, but I think there is some question whether flies would have been considered "alive" at that time. The Bible refers to the "breath" in connection with life. Like plants, insects don't really "breathe" the way other animals do. Just one possible explanation.
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In addition, if evolution didn't happen, then you have a quandary:

either God created the carnivorous plant before the Fall, meaning there WAS death before the Fall (goes against dogma)
OR after the Fall, the plant dramatically changed from being a plant that did not consume animal matter to one that did - in LESS time than evolution took to do so. So what would you call the rapid adaptation of existing body structures to new purposes but evolution?
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