Plants & Human Affairs
Cherries.wmf (7140 bytes) Plants & Human Affairs (BIOL106)  -  Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;

Panda's & Orchids


Directions:  Read Stephen J. Gould's essay "The panda's peculiar thumb" (Natural History; November, Vol. 87; 1978).  Bring to class, typed, answers to the following questions (a sentence or two for each is fine):

  1. What is the function of the panda's 'thumb'?

  2. Why is it unexpected that the pandas have a thumb?  What is the origin of the thumb? 

  3. Why do pandas have an enlarged foot bone?

  4. What does Darwin means by a "contrivance" or an "imperfection"?  Give an example.

  5. Gould believes that an "ideal design is a lousy argument for evolution."  What does he mean by "ideal design" and why are "imperfections" or "contrivances" support for evolution?

  6. Why is self-fertilization a poor strategy for a plant?

  7. What is the difference between self and cross pollination?

  8.  How do plants prevent self-pollination and insure cross pollination

  9. What is an adaptation?  Give an example.



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Last updated:  10/22/2008 � Copyright  by SG Saupe