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Fascinating Flowersep3
Why are flowers a biological mystery?
Prof. Richard BuggsProf. Richard BuggsHD, subtitles, Q&ATranscript26m
We could not exist without flowering plants, but to this date researchers cannot explain where they came from. Why did Darwin describe the origin of flowering plants as an “abominable mystery”?

Charles Darwin was convinced that the evolution of complexity must proceed by tiny steps. Only tiny steps could be accumulated by natural selection. The process had to go slowly for it to work. Billions of years were needed. But Darwin was aware that this theory had a problem: flowers.

Flowering plants appear so suddenly in the fossil record, in such diversity, that their origin seems to be at odds with Darwin’s theory. When writing a letter to his friend Joseph Hooker in 1879, Darwin famously described this problem as an “abominable mystery”. To this date, evolutionary biologists still have not been able to solve this mystery.

Richard Buggs, Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London, will join us at The Garden to reveal how the problem changed over time and why we still haven’t managed to solve it.

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HD, subtitles, Q&ATranscript

Top audience questions
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Is there any advantage to not having flowers as a plant?
12 votes
Do we know how the relationship between angiosperms and pollinators originated? Were the pollinators already around, and evolve mutualistic relationships with angiosperms, or the pollinators also appear abruptly?
12 votes

A really novel and interesting theme which made us think. The question of co-evolution with pollinators is still hanging over us! Thanks for bringing it to life.Ant
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One Garden is a community for the curious, a place where inquisitive minds can come together to learn from world experts, and each other, and join in conversations about topics that spark their curiosity.

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With our monthly membership we aim to give anyone, anywhere, access to the knowledge, ideas and people who have shaped — and continue to shape — our understanding of the world.

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