Can’t remember where I heard the idea put so absolutely, but there’s the idea that humans are incapable of any truly original thought, that is, thoughts that aren’t in some way based on past influences and things that we’ve seen.
It ties in with the whole Everything is a Remix work of Kirby Ferguson, but the idea here is more that if you ask someone to design a ‘crazy’ new animal or plant, that they’ll come up with something that matches parts of animals and plants that they’ve seen. Rare ones perhaps, but still obvious parts of past examples.
Today I saw a plant at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya that reinforced this idea in me. Even though it was based on things I’ve seen before. It’s a plant where all the parts make sense, but no way would I have been creative enough to compose them into something that might actually exist. Douglas Adams might have, but not me.
Have a look and a read about it yourself. Google: Cannonball tree.