"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!"
Chickens aren't the brightest creatures in the animal world, but the mother hen knows to protect her eggs and keep them warm. Many species of snakes also care for their young. Amazingly, scientists have learnt that even some plants have been designed with "motherly" instincts.
The plantain is a common North American weed, and when it blooms, the warmer it keeps its developing seeds, the more seeds its offspring will produce. Researchers have found that cooler air temperatures cause the mother plant to produce a darker bloom cluster. The darker color absorbs more radiant energy from the sun, and this gives its offspring a boost in life even before they sprout. The shooter plant, as it is commonly called in America's southeast, does something similar. It blooms for several months over the southern summer. The leaf-like bracts that sheathe each flower-cluster have a brown pigment. Researchers observed the plants over several months and found that the bracts that formed in cooler April were darker than the bracts that formed in warmer June. The increased levels of brown pigment in April enabled the bracts to absorb more infrared light that helps to warm the flowers.
Just where did those plants learn the necessary physics, not to mention the genetics, to produce these motherly provisions? Of course, the answer is God's Intelligent Design from the very start.
Notes: Science News, 7/23/05, pp. 59-60, Susan Milius, "Mommy Greenest."
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