Re: Origins of VFTs

Paul Temple (
Tue, 21 Jun 94 13:11:53 +0100

+---------------------------+ TM From: Paul Temple
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Sorry but I didn't have time to read all the amazing response to the
VFT origins request. However, in the mails I did read there was an
alarming amount of support for the meteoric radition hypothesis which I
thought I would put in context. Sorry if I repeat something someone
else already said.

If you assume a meteor did land near a plant with the potential to be a
VFT and if you assume it was radioactive, the question is how much
change could be caused. In general, the bigger the "mostrosity" (i.e.
the more sudden change that is caused) the less viable the resultant
form is. This suggests that if VFT is a product of a radioactive
meteorite altering an existing plant, the plant was already very much
of a VFT and possibly would have become one anyway.

Can a plant similar to VFT evolve by "normal" (i.e. not cataclysmic)
means? Probably. In Tierra del Fuego, there's an endemic called
Caltha dionaefolia. Don't all rush to get it; it is NOT carnivorous
and has no powers of rapid movement, trapping, digestion or anything of
direct interest to CP growers. But, it is remarkably like a VFT. It
has a relatively flat habit, its leaves are roughly VFT shaped and, at
the end of each leaf, it has what looks exactly like a completely open
and flattened trap, including the spiny extensions to the leaf edge.
Now there is absolutely NOTHING to suggest any evolution from Caltha
dionaefolia to VFT but it does show the VFT shape is perfectly
achievable without the intervention of anything other than straight
non-catacysmic evolution.

In other words .... Nothing can easily prove a radioactive meteorite
didn't result in the VFT. However, there is sufficient evidence to
show that a radioactive meteorite was not necessary. Rapid movement,
carnivorous nutrition, trapping, etc. have all evolved on several
occassions and no-one has suggested meteorites or unusual radiation
were involved. There was bound to be at least one rare plant found
close to one meteorite remnant; it was a mathematical certainty. I
think linking the two is sci-fi at it's best, possible but not very likely.