Creation and Carnivory in the Pitcher Plants of Nepenthaceae and Sarraceniaceae

R W Sanders, T C Wood


The morphological adaptations of carnivorous plants and taxonomic distributions of those adaptations are reviewed, as are the conflicting classifications of the plants based on the adaptations, reproductive morphology, and DNA sequences.  To begin developing a creationist understanding of the origin of plant carnivory, we here focus specifically on pitcher plants of Nepenthaceae and Sarraceniaceae because their popularity as cultivated curiosities has generated a literature resource amenable to baraminological analysis.  Hybridization records were augmented by total nucleotide differences to assess species similarities.  Nonhybridizing species falling within the molecular range of hybridizing species were included in the monobaramin of the hybridizing species.  The combined data support each of the three genera of the Sarraceniaceae as a monobaramin, but the three could not be combined into a larger monobaramin.  With the Nepenthaceae, the data unequivocally place 73% of the species in a single monobaramin, strongly suggesting the whole genus (and, thus, family) is a monobaramin.  The lack of variation in the carnivorous habit provides no evidence for the intrabaraminic origin of carnivory from non-carnivorous plants. An array of fascinating symbiotic relationships of pitchers in some species with unusual bacteria, insects, and vertebrates are known and suggest the origin of carnivory from benign functions of the adaptive structures.  However, these symbioses still do not account for the apparent complex design for carnivory characteristic of all species in the two families.

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