Meetings of the Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands
Acta botanica neerlandica , Volume 33 - Issue 1 p. 135- 138
Fossil flowers cannot be studied directly, because of their extreme rarity in the fossil record. This study tries to relate the results of a statistical analysis of the recent insect-flower relationships with the phylogeny of the insect-taxa in which anthophily developed, dated by their relatively rich fossil record. A postulate is the principle that the length of the tongues of fossilized anthophilous insects of a certain period is some relative measure for the length of the corolla-tube of the flowers visited. On the basis of the stratigraphical appearance of the anthophilous insects it is, then, possible to state that flower taxa with longer corolla-tubes are more advanced than those with shorter tubes and with dish- to bowl-shaped flowers. A statistical analysis is carried out on the world’s least anecdotically compiled survey of insect visits to flowers, viz., Knuth’s “Bliitenbiologie”, as far as the Central European area is concerned. For inductions within the insect-flower relationships as a whole, and starting from a restricted area, the following presupposition is required: the processes within the insect-flower relationships in other areas follow the same course as those in the Central European area (horizontal uniforraitarianism). Because the recent insect-flower relationships are to be correlated with the phylogeny and the fossil record of anthophilous insects, a second presupposition is necessary: the processes within the insectflower relationships in the past did not run differently from those in recent insect-flower relationships (vertical uniformitarianism).
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