Fertilisation of Orchids, written by Charles Darwin (pictured) and
published on 15 May 1862, explores the evolutionary interactions between
insects and the orchids they pollinate, which Darwin had mentioned in
his previous book, On the Origin of Species. Field studies and practical
scientific investigations that were initially a recreation for
Darwin—a relief from the drudgery of writing—developed into
enjoyable and challenging experiments assisted by his family, friends,
and correspondents worldwide. The book was his first detailed
demonstration of the power of natural selection, showing how the
benefits of cross-fertilisation lead to complex ecological relationships
and the coevolution of orchids and insects, with cumulative small
variations resulting in beautiful and complex functional forms that
natural theology had attributed to a grand designer. It explained the
puzzle of Catasetum, which was thought to have different species of
flowers on the same plant, and produced the testable prediction that the
long nectary of Angraecum sesquipedale meant that there must be a moth
with an equally long proboscis.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertilisation_of_Orchids>
Today's selected anniversaries:
American Revolutionary War: British forces under the command of
General Sir Henry Clinton captured Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery, and
then dismantled the Hudson River Chain.
Eleftherios Venizelos was elected Prime Minister of Greece for
the first of his seven non-consecutive terms.
The first successful feature sound film The Jazz Singer,
starring Al Jolson, was released.
Denouncing corruption in the administration of Argentine
President Fernando de la Rúa and in the Senate, Vice President Carlos
Álvarez resigned from his office.
Al Qaeda bombed the oil tanker Limburg, causing 90,000 barrels
(14,000 m3) of oil to leak into the Gulf of Aden.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
Withered; lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Learn to control ego. Humans hold their dogmas and biases too tightly,
and we only think that our opponents are dogmatic! But we all need
criticism. Criticism is the only known antidote to error.
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