Marilyn sez, "Until 375,000 years ago, plants had be by physically close to each other in order to reproduce. Pollen changed all that. From the article by Rob Dunn in the Dec. issue of National Geographic:"
Update: not sure about Marylin's source for the 375k year stat above, but it looks like pollen is at least as old as the late Devonian
In the 300,000 pollen-bearing plant species on Earth, there are 300,000 different forms of pollen. The great variety in colors, shapes, and textures of the grains has evolved in accordance with each plant's biological particulars. Beetle-pollinated plants tend to have smooth, sticky pollen, the better to adhere to the lumbering beetles' backs. Plants pollinated by fast-moving bees or flies may have spiny pollen that lodges easily between the insects' hairs. Plants pollinated by bigger animals, such as bats, sometimes have bigger pollen, though not always -- perhaps not even most of the time. In the details of pollen's variety, more remains to be explained than is understood.
A friend with allergies once compared living through high-pollen-count days as "being the involuntary star in a vegetage-kingdom bukkake movie." I haven't been able to think of pollen the same way since.
Love Is in the Air
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the mind-expanding modus operandi of the counterculture spread into the realm of science, and shit got wonderfully weird. Neurophysiologist John Lilly tried to talk with dolphins. Physicist Peter Phillips launched a parapsychology lab at Washington University. Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill became an evangelist for space colonies. Groovy Science: Knowledge, […]
In a lead editorial in the current Nature, John Wilbanks (formerly head of Science Commons, now “Chief Commons Officer” for Sage Bionetworks) and Eric Topol (professor of genomics at the Scripps Institute) decry the mass privatization of health data by tech startups, who’re using a combination of side-deals with health authorities/insurers and technological lockups to […]
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