This is the story of the relationship between the
Thynnid wasp and the hammer orchid of Australia. The female wasp has no
wings and lives underground all of its life until it is time to mate.
It then climbs a plant and releases its pheromone (a chemical that
attracts male wasps) while it waits for a male wasp to come and carry
it away as they mate.
The hammer orchid (Drakaea)
produces a dummy female wasp on a stem attached to a hinge that will
only bend one way—the only way that will allow the orchid to be
pollinated. At just the right time the orchid releases the pheromone of
the female wasp. Many times the male wasp is fooled by the dummy female
on the orchid and tries to carry it away. In the process the male wasp
is thrown backwards into the pollen of the orchid and pollen sticks to
its back. When the wasp gives up and flies away the process is repeated
at another orchid but this time when the wasp is thrown backward the
pollen on its back pollinates that orchid. This apparently is the only
way the hammer orchid can be pollinated. If this process does not work
the hammer orchid will become extinct.
Look at all of the things that must be right. The hinge must not be too
weak or too stiff. It must bend only one way. The stem from the hinge
to the dummy female must be exactly the right length. The orchid must
produce exactly the right complex chemical at exactly the right time.
All of this is complicated and not something that a plant or a wasp
could have intentionally developed. Could this have just happened by
chance? Not a chance!
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Does God Exist?, NovDec09.