Why did the spider cross the ocean? To colonize the Old World after it “originated” in the New World.
It seems inconceivable for creatures as small as spiders to play Columbus, but they did. Their ships were rafts of vegetation, a short article in Nature said this week (Nature 485, 31 May 2012, p. 550, doi:10.1038/485550a). “A family of harvestmen that inhabits tropical forests on both sides of the Pacific Ocean originated in Mesoamerica roughly 82 million years ago,” the journal claimed. “The arachnids’ migration is a rare example of a trans-Pacific dispersal.”
A genetic comparison of harvestmen from old and new worlds led Harvard scientists to conclude that the spiders got from Brazil to Indo-Pacific islands. “The creatures probably did not disperse through the break-up of the supercontinent Gondwana, so the authors speculate that they made their way across the Pacific on floating vegetation carried by ocean currents.”
Let’s see if the evolutionary explanation makes sense. The spiders, we are told, “originated” in Mesoamerica. That’s really helpful, isn’t it? How did the world form? It originated. Why is there air? It originated. Where did the philosophy of origins come from? It originated. Try that at home; even your kids know you’re dodging their question….
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