It is often claimed that Australians plants need fire and are adapted to fire, but what is the evidence for such statements? Shown here is a fossilised cone of a Banksia that lived 40 million years ago next to a cone of a Banksia that is with us today. The climate was a lot wetter when the ancient Banksia was around, so protection against fire is a very unlikely explanation for the structure we see. Defence against predators like cockatoos would appear to be a far more likely explanation, argue Bradshaw et al. (2011). If we don’t really know what forces led to the traits we observe the term exaptation is far more prudent. Photos: courtesy of Steve Hopper.
For further information: Bradshaw SD, Dixon KW, Hopper SD, Lambers H and Turner SR 2011 Little evidence for fire-adapted plant traits in Mediterranean climate regions. Trends Plant Sci. 16:69-76.
Original post https://www.facebook.com/kwonganfoundation