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Thread: Which came first?

  1. #25
    swords's Avatar
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    Someone had to do it and it wasn't me this time!
    On the cacti forum when you type the word "evolve" or "evolved" into a post it comes up as "against forum rules" instead of "******" or something. Curiously other than profanity this is the only word I've found so far that does this. It makes discussing things clearly rather silly at times. LOL!

    True I never saw the cobra plant as really looking like a cobra with the flaring hood and all that. To me it kinda looks like a mutated S. psittacina. Perhaps a single colony of the species back in the good old days isolated and propagated itself and here we are.

    What the heck is a "tipiwitchets"?

  2. #26
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I think there is a functional correlation between the two... the serpentine posture of Darlingtonia comes from the simplicity and mechanical resilience of helical forms, which is also ubiquitous in the ergonomics of snakes (climbing, striking - even writhing is a three-dimensional helix on a 2D plane over time.)
    As for the tongue, that's probably largely coincidence. Forked things are easy to make with growth meristems, and an accessible way of increasing surface area of filamentous, low-volume structures. It just happens that both the snake's tongue and the "tongue" of the Darlingtonia have functions where surface area is a desirable feature; for snakes, it gives a greater sampling area for their olfactory receptors, and for Darlingtonia it diffuses more of the plant's luring scent and provides a larger landing area for flying prey. The tongues and similar protrusions of certain Nepenthes likely have a totally different function - that is, making an area of extremely narrow, poor footing which is both directly above the pitfall and is separated from safer regions of the pitcher by a single, easily blocked path. As far as I've observed, these tongues are usually heavily baited so that prey concentrate on them; the combination of a precarious position and crowding makes capturing insects much more reliable.
    Evolution doesn't require the Darlingtonia to be able to see snakes, because evolutionary processes don't need to know in advance what the utility of a certain adaptation is. Have you ever heard of the "guess-and-check" method in your math class? Basically, evolution picks new forms more or less randomly based on simple variations of the parent form, and then relies on the virtues and pitfalls of the new forms to weed the bad ones out. The ancestors of Darlingtonia stumbled onto that shape because it was easy to find by chance from wherever they were before, and then the offspring that looked like snakes did a good job at reproducing. They didn't "see" that a snake-like form was worthwhile - if anything, they experienced it directly when they sprouted and grew snake-shaped leaves.
    I think they chose cobra for the name since the "head" of the Darlingtonia doesn't have the typical flattened, wedge shape of most snakes. From the front, it has a silhouette reminiscent of a hooded cobra. Or maybe the person that coined the name just didn't know of many types of snakes, and cobra was just the word that sounded good.
    ~Joe

    PS - Re: the evolution vs. creationism debate, I also think it belongs in another thread - probably another forum. Halt's original inquiry assumes that evolution was the mechanism which caused the correlation between snakes and Darlingtonia. The question isn't about the merits of evolution, just why this particular case worked out the way it did, given an evolutionary process.

    PPS - Tipitwitchet is another, somewhat archaic name for VFTs, because the leaves "twitch" when stimulated.

    PPPS - That got long!

    PPPPS - Interactive demonstrations! Biomorphs, a simulation originally created by Richard Dawkins.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
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    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  3. #27
    "Oh, now he's a philosophizer" Baylorguy's Avatar
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    I agree with Dr. Wurm. If any correlation exists between the cobra plant and an actual snake, it would be a very weak one. I wonder if we would see the similarity less often if the plant was named Moose Lily lol

  4. #28
    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    The fact that darlingtonia's look like snakes is an accumulation of beneficial genetic abnormalities.
    It's very simple.
    Deers like to munch on the plants and birds peck holes in the plants structure to steal insects.
    Looking like a snake makes animals wary and helps to ward them off.
    view my growlist
    http://grwlist.notlong.com

  5. #29

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    Um, D. Muscipula, In the Savage Garden, Peter D'Amato observes that the locals call Darlingtonia sites "Deer Licks"! A deer lick is just another way of saying "aplacewheredeerliketoeatandtheycomethereveryfrequently" Besides, deer from Oregon have never seen a cobra, so how do they know what to look for and be wary of? Maybe they look like that to be another 'hybrid' trap, like drosophyllum, combo of pitfall and lobsterpot! Maybe they're a mutant Psittacina that decided to supersize, grow upright, and change their flowers into a unique type of flower! I was imagining there.

    Happy Growing!
    Aslan

  6. #30
    herenorthere's Avatar
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    I'd like to know the origin of the name "Cobra Lily" and does anyone know how far back it goes? Maybe the name was invented by a certain former CP nursery that shall go unnamed, because I agree with those who don't see much cobra in it.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

  7. #31
    allegedhuman's Avatar
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    The first animal that comes to mind when I stare at one which it may possibly resemble very vaguely would be a walrus. A large round bald top and then a long drooping moustache...but then again maybe that is just me...I propose a subspecies/cultivar/soemthing... Darlingtonia walrasia!

  8. #32
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslan View Post
    Maybe they look like that to be another 'hybrid' trap, like drosophyllum, combo of pitfall and lobsterpot!
    That sounds about right to me. My Darlingtonia has put out some adult-sized pitchers this year and last and I'm really amazed to see up close how they do their thing. The head of Darlingtonia is a far superior analog to the lids of Sarracenia. Where the Sarr's lid just keeps rain to a minimum and maybe occasionally stops a bug from flying straight out, the top of a Darlingtonia pitcher is almost wholly translucent and looks more like an escape route than the actual entrance. Of course I'd read that and seen pictures of it before, but it's different to look at a pitcher top-down and see through it down into the depths of the pitfall.
    ~Joe

    PS - What nursery are you thinking of, Bruce? You've got me really curious. The name seems older than the era of most CP nurseries to me. (Would it be breaking the rules to mention another nursery not in the context of buying plants or what they sell? Seems like a borderline case. Mods?)
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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