Wollemi pines and guppies

Wollemi pine

Today in the botanical gardens.

A peacock (not a bird, a butterfly).

Many European garden spiders in their webs.

Pondskaters in the brook, some of them sitting on autumn fruits now drifting there.

And two Wollemi pines, sent here from Australia to prevent fungal disease from killing them in their only place in the Australian mountains.

They are close here to other gymnosperm plants relatives of which already lived in the age of dinosaurs: gingkos and cycads.

They are now just about 50 and 80 centimeter tall.

Eventually, they may grow to over forty meters.

Guppies, rummy nosed tetras, black mollies, and many other fish together in an aquarium in a hothouse.

Wollemi pine in Sweden: here.

From the Google cache of Dear Kitty ModBlog, of 8/13/05, on the peacock:

Traditionally, a common garden butterfly.

However, this year I hardly saw it yet, so did not mention it yet.

All butterflies have good years and bad years. I hope this was just a bad peacock year, and we will see more again next year. …

The scientific name of the peacock butterfly is Inachis io. Inachis [often Io, in Latin] was a Greek river goddess whom the supreme god Zeus fell in love with.

Zeus’ jealous wife Hera made her hundred eyed servant Argos guard Inachis. After Argos was killed, Hera placed his eyes on the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock.

Io is of course also the name of a moon of Jupiter.

6 thoughts on “Wollemi pines and guppies

  1. Biologist takes axe to the ‘myth’ of Wollemi

    * Matthew Warren, Environment writer
    * April 14, 2007 The Australian

    CLAIMS that a group of pine trees discovered in NSW date back to the time of the dinosaurs have been challenged by a leading biologist who insists the truth has been lost in the frantic rush for headlines.

    The 1994 discovery of the Wollemi pine spawned international media coverage on the back of the claim that the trees are effectively “living fossils” dating back 130 million years.

    An item by biologist Allen Greer published this month claims the evidence for this link is weak, but has been allowed by a decision to put the publicity and promotional value of the discovery ahead of the scientific reality.

    Dr Greer said there was almost no evidence to support the claim that the Wollemi pine existed at the time of the dinosaurs, but was fuelled by a scientific and media race to earn accolades and publicity from such a story.

    It was more appropriate to claim that the trees, discovered in a canyon 150km northwest of Sydney, were probably a new species belonging to a family of trees previously only known from fossil remains, he said.

    While the distinction may seem subtle, Dr Greer said a more modest, if not realistic, interpretation would not have captured the public’s imagination.

    “The story behind the Wollemi pine story is revealing for how scientific caution and balance can be lost when a discovery is pitched to maximise public notice,” he said.

    Dr Greer’s theory was challenged by the executive director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Tim Entwistle, who said there was a lot of evidence showing the Wollemi pines were direct descendants of trees growing 130 million years ago.

    Despite the attractiveness of the story behind the trees, scientists were extremely circumspect in comparing living and fossil plants, which resulted in the trees being named differently to the original fossilised plants, he said.

    “What we’ve got with the Wollemi pine is the sole surviving member of a distinct lineage that goes back millions of years,” Dr Entwistle said.

    The Botanic Gardens Trust of NSW has propagated cuttings from the Wollemi stand. An example of the tree can be seen in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

    Bushwalker Alan Hewson introduced his grandchildren, Jack Evans, 5, and Evie Evans, 3, to one last week.


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