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Convergent EvolutionLimited Forms Most Beautiful$
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George McGhee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016421

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016421.001.0001

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Convergent Plants

Convergent Plants

(p.92) (p.93) 3 Convergent Plants
Convergent Evolution

George R. McGhee

The MIT Press

This chapter describes the functional problems faced by photoautrophic modes of life, and specifically deals with the reproductive evolution of seed plants. It discusses the photosynthetic light-capture structures in plants. The convergencies that necessarily result from those functional constraints on possible evolutionary pathways are elaborated. The chapter shows that convergent fertilization systems are dominant in the seed plants. It suggests that plants coevolve with the numerous animal partners which they have involved in their reproduction and defense, and that these beetles, flies, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, ants, birds, and mammals have themselves evolved in response to plant evolution.

Keywords:   reproductive evolution, seed plants, functional constraints, evolutionary pathways, defense, light-capture structures

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