Monday, February 12, 2007

Piss-off a Creationist: Grow a Living Fossil

I'm a bio-geek. I love bizarre animals and plants. Now we can own and grow truly unique plant: The Wollemi Pine. This plant was discovered by David Noble, a sharp-eyed park ranger, who repelled into an isolated gorge in the Blue Mountains of Wollemi National Park (about 120 miles west of Sydney, Australia). The only representatives of this family of trees were from the fossil record. Trees like this thrived 200 million years ago, having gone completely extinct about 2 million years ago. The plant was named Wollemia nobilis, in honor of the discoverer and the plants location. The exact locality was kept secret (to discourage poaching), and cuttings were taken in attempts at propagation. Fortunately, those efforts have payed-off. Now, thanks to dedicated botanists and the National Geographic Society, you can now purchase a small rooted plant:

...You can assist in the conservation effort and enjoy the unique opportunity to ensure the continued survival of this rare species by giving the tree as a gift or growing your own. Suitable for indoor container gardening or as a landscape tree in certain areas of the U.S. Comes with a care manual with the full story about the discovery and fascinating history of the Wollemi pine. Tree will be approximately 10''H when shipped. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these plants will fund ongoing conservation research...

The plants cost about $US100. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens in NYC also distributes them. So, for only a hundred dollars, you can support conservation efforts and rub a Creationist's nose in 'it' (in this case, a coprolite). As soon as it gets a bit warmer, I'm ordering one. It will make my trilobites jealous!

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