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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CB630:

Many pairs of species are mutually and completely dependent upon each other. For example, fig trees require fig gall wasps to pollinate them, and the wasps require the figs to live. Another such example, among many, is the yucca and Pronuba yucca moth. If one species evolved first, it could not have survived on its own; the mutualistic species must have come into existence at essentially the same time.


  1. Obligate mutualism can evolve gradually from nonobligate associations. For example, a yucca can be pollinated by many insects and gradually specialize to attract just one moth, and a moth may live off many species of yucca and gradually specialize on just one. In fact, some yucca species are still pollinated by more than one moth, and the yucca moth Tegeticula yuccasella pollinates several species of yucca (Powell 1992).


  1. Powell, Jerry A. 1992. Interrelationships of yuccas and yucca moths. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 7(1): 10-15.

Further Reading:

Dawkins, Richard, 1996. Climbing Mount Improbable. New York: W.W. Norton, chpts. 8 and 10.
Pellmyr, O., J. N. Thompson, J. M. Brown and R. G. Harrison, 1996. Evolution of pollination and mutualism in the yucca moth lineage. The American Naturalist 148(5): 827-847. (technical)
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