The discovery, twenty-one years after his death, of the moth Xanthopan morgani praedicta, a creature of sufficiently extended snootage for the task, was a major vindication of his theory of evolution by natural selection.
And so it is that flowers and pollinators are engaged in a perpetual co-evolutionary game. The flower makes the nectaries harder and harder to reach, to ensure that the pollinators have to get far enough into the flowers to get some pollen rubbed on to their persons, all the better to fertilise the next bloom they meet. The pollinator, in contrast, evolves contrivances to reach the nectaries that ensure they don't have to work as hard as that.
I wonder, then, at the forces of evolution, so titanic and at the same time so subtle, that have precisely adapted the muzzle of a golden retriever to fit the shape and size of a carton of Ben and Jerry's ice cream?
|(picture courtesy of Mrs Crox)|