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Thread: Colors of Flowering Plants and Birds

  1. #1 Colors of Flowering Plants and Birds 
    Forum Bachelors Degree
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    Nov 2011
    Did the various colors of flowering plants evolve first before the various colors of birds evolved?

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  3. #2  
    HFS is offline
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    Apr 2012
    The array of colours associated with flowering plants is a result of co-evolution with their pollinators, the insects. Flowers of an individual plant in a population which were more appealing to a pollinator would be more likely to reproduce, hence the selection for brighter, diverse colours. I am however unaware of why the insects are more attracted to certain wavelengths of the spectra than others. It's also important to remember that many insects can see wavelengths outside of our visible spectrum; the world looks very different to them.

    Birds are colourful for various reasons such as camouflage or for sexual selection.

    Birds evolved much later than insects (insects: Devonian (< 408 million years ago); birds: Jurassic (<199.6 million years ago); from Wikipedia) but pollinating insects and their mutualistic relationship with plants are thought to have evolved in the early Cretaceous (ca. 145.5 million years ago).

    Were the birds already colourful when the pollinating insects arrived? I don't know...

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