No such thing as a tree

The title is obvious if you are familiar with the “no such thing as a fish” idea, first expressed by biologist Stephen Jay Gould. His point was that although there are many sea creatures most of them are not closely related to each other. And for example a salmon is more closely related to a camel than it is to a hagfish.

And just like convergent evolution with crabs (carcinisation) it also exists with trees (dendronisation):

The common ancestor of a maple and a mulberry tree was not a tree.
The common ancestor of a stinging nettle and a strawberry plant was a tree.

Can this be tested? Yep – knock out a couple of genes that control flower development and change the light levels to mimic summer, and researchers found that Arabidopsis – rock cress, a distinctly herbaceous plant used as a model organism – grows a woody stem never otherwise seen in the species.

Can this be tested? Yep – knock out a couple of genes that control flower development and change the light levels to mimic summer, and researchers found that Arabidopsis – rock cress, a distinctly herbaceous plant used as a model organism – grows a woody stem never otherwise seen in the species.
— Georgia Ray, “There’s no such thing as a tree (phylogenetically)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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