Thursday, April 29, 2010

You, Fruit Bearing Trees, and You

Many species enjoy symbiotic relationships with other species. But have you ever sat down and thought about, say, the human symbiotic relationship with fruit bearing trees?

Over eons of evolution, trees have poured energy and resources into the development of colorful, sugar and vitamin rich fruits to, in effect, lure humans and other primates into eating the tasty treat and disseminating their seeds. Likewise, humans have evolved refined taste buds, special color sight, digestive enzymes and agriculture to aid in the discovery and consumption of the plant.

While we're using fruit bearing trees for our own nutrition, fruit bearing trees are using us for their own reproduction! We share a symbiotic relationship with plants that is exactly analogous to bees and the pollination of flowering plants. Isn't that wild?

So the next time you catch yourself looking down on a tree or plant as a lowly organism, stop yourself, flip your perspective, and consider the ways that plant may be manipulating you for the sake of its own reproductive success.