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Was Darwin Wrong?



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The Flower of an Idea
Photograph by Robert Clark

A Disa uniflora orchid extends its petals like arms as if to proclaim, Look at me. For the legendary 19th-century scientist, orchids epitomized his theory of natural selection, the belief that plants and animals evolve with traits favoring survival and reproductive success. By this measure orchids are a sensational success, with 24,000 species and 60,000 registered hybrids, far more than any other flowering plant on Earth. Found on South Africa's Table Mountain, Disa uniflora can endure frost, snow, and high wind. Its fused male and female parts—the white column at center—entice bees for pollination rather than relying on breezes to carry pollen.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Sinar P2 4 x 5
Film Type: Fuji Provia 100F
Lens: 180mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/32

Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: Afternoon
Lighting Techniques: All white backdrop and one large hard light source on the flower



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