How plants affect the evolution of animals

  • The purpose for which fruits evolved is to use the animals that feed on them to spread the seeds more efficiently. Plants have encouraged animals to collaborate by rewarding them with a meal rich in easily digestible sugars, which has also modified their digestive systems (while previously they had to feed on the rest of the plant, which is energetically very expensive to digest) and made available ecological niches that also include that of primates.
  • Another crucial point was the evolution of vascular plants, where the presence of cellulose provided the stiffness necessary to make very tall trees possible, which in turn created a new three-dimensional habitat for life on land.
  • Another great explosion of diversity in the animal world was caused by the evolution of flowers as a reproductive mean. With the birth of the angiosperms, which then took over the gymnosperms (which reproduced without flowers) social insects and many other animals were born.
  • The extinction of ferns and cycads, the dominant trees back then, and the development of broad-leaved trees is one of the factors that led to the extinction of large reptiles and allowed mammals to thrive.
  • And obviously, the oxygen that today is used by almost all organisms on Earth was produced by plants, which were also the first beings to colonize the surface and make it habitable for other animals.



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Giuseppe Frisella

Giuseppe Frisella

I'm a curious person and I'm on Medium mainly to read and share thoughts and knowledge. I love science, especially physics and evolutionary biology.