Re: Hybrids and hapax legomena-driven retrieval

Thom Quinn (
Thu, 24 Jul 1997 11:07:37 -0500

Yes, but there are very FEW animal examples...plant examples are

Thom Quinn

Carl Feynman wrote:
> At 03:28 PM 7/23/97 -0500, Thom Quinn wrote:
> > What if the Hybridization occurs between two sister species, and
> >the offspring are better adapted, have higher variability, and are
> >fertile. These creatures would not be evolutionary dead ends, instead,
> >they would be evolutionary BEGINNINGS! FIG 3 shows just that. For a
> >hybrid to take root in the parent species niche, we would expect this
> >pairing happens often.
> There are a great many examples of such phenomena described in section 5 of
> Here's a famous (and ironic) story:
> In 1927, the Soviet cytologist Karpchenko crossed the radish, Raphanus
> sativus, with the cabbage, Brassica oleracea, trying to produce a plant with
> the leaves of a cabbage and the roots of a radish. Despite the fact that the
> plants were in different genera, he got a viable hybrid. The hybrids were
> interfertile with each other, but not interfertile with either parental
> species. Unfortunately the new plant (genus Raphanobrassica) had the foliage
> of a radish and the root of a cabbage. It is not recorded whether Stalin
> had him shot for his failure.
> Topic change:
> I found document this by recalling that I had once heard of such a case,
> years ago, and the organism's name was raphanobrassica. That made it easy
> to find this document through Alta Vista. Perhaps in the age of search
> engines, the best way to learn information is to assosciate a few bizarre
> buzzwords with any topic, just as I assosciated 'speciation through
> hybridization' with 'raphanobrassica'. Then it will be easy to pull up the
> actual information when you need it.
> This might be called the 'hapax legomena strategy'. (A hapax legomena is a
> word or phrase that occurs only once in a given corpus).
> It occurs to me that I have been using this strategy unconsciously. Rather
> than keep bookmarks to some topics, when I need to know about technical
> diving, I look for articles containing 'trimix', and when I need to know
> about stellar nucleosynthesis, I look for 'helium flash'. Who needs a
> bookmark file when you've got a vocabulary?
> --CarlF