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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
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Behind The Golden Boughs

Paleo-biologist Hope Jahren is at hand to show the wonder that is a tree. Among the thick foliage hangs the story of her struggle as a scientist.

Behind The Golden Boughs
Behind The Golden Boughs
outlookindia.com
2017-06-10T11:03:54+05:30

About 400 million years ago, an event of earth shattering importance happened—plants which had hitherto been confined to oceans invaded land. The all-imp­ortant chemical process, photosynthesis, had been around in some form as early as 2.5-3 billion years ago in bacteria. Early cells had acquired these food producing bacteria and formed what were the first plant cells.   Evolutionary pressures on the first land plants then resulted in the first trees with roots and leaves. This was about 350 million years ago, but the real innovation came about somewhat later, when the seed makes it first appearance. This simple evolutionary innovation enabled plants to colonise land and form vast forests.

The numbers are truly impressive. There is six-hundred times more life on land than in the oceans. And most of these plants—the ratio of the total mass of plants to animals on land is about a thousand. A tree, like most biological systems, is a fascinating object. Taking in water from the land through its intricate root system, transporting this over huge...

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