The Cassandra Project

Charles Darwin once described an orchid with a very long nectary and predicted that there would be an insect with a very long tongue that would pollinate it. Years later (after Darwin had died) an insect that looked like the one he predicted was identified and was called “X. morganii praedicta“. It wasn’t until 1992 that it was directly shown that this insect pollinated the orchid, Angraecum sesquipedale. This story is described in Moth tongues, orchids and Darwin – the predictive power of evolution

Thanks to orchid expert Rob Halgren for telling me about this accomplishment of Darwin.

Based on this tale and and other stories of amazing prediction in science, I thought it would be an interesting idea to start a blog which my students (and anyone else) can contribute to which describe such feats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *