Plants are boring. They just sit in photosynthesis while animals have all the fun. right? not really. Look at the interaction between ants and plants. The plant has specially developed features to attract ants such as hollow juices and juveniles to provide shelter and shelter for ants. Their seeds even serve as bodyguards. New Research National Academy of Sciences We have analyzed the genetic history of 1,700 ants and 10,000 plants, and a long history of co-evolution of ants and plants found that ants start to develop ant-friendly traits and later eat plants and plants.
"My main concern is to study how the interactions between organisms evolved, and how these interactions form the history of evolution. When did the ant begin to use plants? Matt Nelsen, a postdoctoral fellow at Field Museum, said: PNAS Research.
"The kinds of plants that ants use vary," explains colleagues Field Museum researcher and co-authors Rick Ree and Corrie Moreau and research lead Nelsen. "Some plants have evolved the ability to persuade ants to defend against the attacks of other insects or even mammals, including the presence of thorns on the inside of the ants or extra juice in the leaves or stems to eat. Fraud and run away with the honey, but some will cling to the surrounding area to attack the plant, "Nelsen explained. Other plants help the ant to feed the seeds by feeding on a mass of food attached to the seed called elaiosomes. "Ants will pick up seeds, take them, eat their seeds and throw away seeds. They often grow up in nutrient-rich areas, and because they are far from their parents, they have to compete for resources."
But scientists were not sure how the evolutionary relationship between ants and plants began. If it is an interspecific arsenal of competition that develops how evolution will benefit from its neighbors, scientists wanted to know whether a plant or an ant had first fired. Ree, a plant curator at the Fields Museum, said, "Whether the ant starts to use plants or plants that develop structures to use ants, chicken and eggs were the questions.
The evolution of ants and plants together dates back to the dinosaurs. It is not easy to tell how an organism interacted in a fossil. "There is very little fossil record of this structure in plants, and it does not take long to get over time, and there are many fossil ants, but generally they do not show this ant behavior. Look at the ants preserved in amber that have seeds," says Nelson.
Thus, to identify the history of the early evolution of ant plant interactions, Nelsen and his colleagues used large amounts of DNA and ecological databases. "In our study we decided to link these behavioral and physical features with ant and plant pedigrees so that when ants developed their ability to eat and live in plants and produce structures used by ants,
The researchers map the ant-friendly characteristics of plants and the history of plant use of ants to this family tree, which is called ancestral national reconstruction. They were able to determine when ants began to depend on ants and for grazing and distribution. Ants seem to rely on plants for a long time because ants have not developed this particular structure until the ants have long relied on them, rather than depending directly on the ants. We were reliant on food and habitat.
"Some ants do not use plants directly, others depend on eating, habitat, or nesting. To fully invest in plants, we need to save the ants first and then include them in the diet Then, from there, the plants began to nest: it was intuitive to change step by step as the dependence on the plant increased, but it still surprised us, "says Nelsen.
From an evolutionary point of view, there has been a mutually beneficial relationship between ants and plants for many years, but ants that eat, forage, or nest plants have not done much better than those that do not. "We do not include ants that depend on food or habitat-dependent plants for some of their ants," Nelsen says, "we can not see the trees diversify or grow faster than the lack of interactions." "This research is important because it shows how extensive and complex interactions have evolved."
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