The Ghosts Of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms

The Ghosts Of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms

Connie Barlow / Nov 14, 2019

The Ghosts Of Evolution Nonsensical Fruit Missing Partners and Other Ecological Anachronisms A new vision is sweeping through ecological science The dense web of dependencies that makes up an ecosystem has gained an added dimension the dimension of time Every field forest and park is full o

  • Title: The Ghosts Of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms
  • Author: Connie Barlow
  • ISBN: 9780465005529
  • Page: 171
  • Format: Paperback
  • A new vision is sweeping through ecological science The dense web of dependencies that makes up an ecosystem has gained an added dimension the dimension of time Every field, forest, and park is full of living organisms adapted for relationships with creatures that are now extinct In a vivid narrative, Connie Barlow shows how the idea of missing partners in nature evolA new vision is sweeping through ecological science The dense web of dependencies that makes up an ecosystem has gained an added dimension the dimension of time Every field, forest, and park is full of living organisms adapted for relationships with creatures that are now extinct In a vivid narrative, Connie Barlow shows how the idea of missing partners in nature evolved from isolated, curious examples into an idea that is transforming how ecologists understand the entire flora and fauna of the Americas This fascinating book will enrich the experience of any amateur naturalist, as well as teach us that the ripples of biodiversity loss around us are just the leading edge of what may well become perilous cascades of extinction.

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      Published :2018-09-26T08:03:48+00:00

    About "Connie Barlow"

      • Connie Barlow

        Connie Barlow Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Ghosts Of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms book, this is one of the most wanted Connie Barlow author readers around the world.


    163 Comments

    1. The Ghosts of Evolution is an account of fruits and their missing seed dispersers.Ever wonder what eats crazy-looking fruits like the Osage Orange? It could be that nothing living does, that the preferred organism for spreading the seed has been lost to the sands of time. Connie Barlow investigates fruits from around the world and points out the probable ecological anachronisms.For instance, the avocado seems to be intended to be devoured whole by some megafauna, possible a ground sloth, but no [...]


    2. During the later Pleistocene, as humans were inexorably invading nearly every landmass on the planet, a gradual extermination was simultaneously taking place. This mass extinction, the latest in a long line throughout the history of the biosphere, primarily targeted megafauna - from the mastodons and giant sloths of North America, to the woolly mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses of Europe, to the giant lizards and flightless birds of Australia. In most cases, their annihilation shortly followed th [...]


    3. This is a fascinating book with some occasionally irritating foibles. The broad concepts here are intriguing and open a new window into the history of our natural world. The basic premise is that a number of plants in North America evolved to form partnerships with the megafauna that once dominated the landscape, but which is now largely extinct. This has resulted in a number of ecological "anachronisms"—plants whose seeds are nestled in large fruits no current animals can swallow whole, or wh [...]


    4. The book, at first, reminded me of Shaw’s rather mean-spirited review of a budding author’s manuscript, “There’s too much space between the covers.” Reading the book, I found myself skipping words, then sentences till by the end I felt like Spiderman, able to leap over entire chapters in a single bound. But brickbats apart, I do not mean to say that the actual subject matter of the book i.e. there are flora today with anachronistic traits which seem adapted to now extinct mega-fauna is [...]


    5. While some exceptions have made their way into popular purview - chiefly the understanding that industrial humans are destructive - ecology is still largely seen the way it was presented by William Paley: a web of interactions in which inefficiencies and waste are pared away by the exigencies of natural selection and where every piece has its function, even if it's not yet clear to us. This is evident in Optimal Foraging Theory and Optimal Defense Theory, which are essentially tautological: what [...]


    6. I recommend this book. Apparently designed for the non-scientist, the reviews of the characteristics of anachronistic flora is engaging and interesting. At times, I'm unsure if the book is directed at the science lay-person or to the non-botanist scientist, but it was still a good read. The idea of this book is an A+, while the actual text is more of a C-. My only qualm is the personal message sometimes injected by the author. I recommend skipping chapter 8 (Who Are the Ghosts?), as it's filled [...]


    7. Just finished The Ghosts of Evolution. Wonderful book. I first discovered this title when I worked at my local library years ago. I remember it coming out, leafed through it, and knew that one day I'd have to read it. Though I already understood the premise of the book, the symbiotic connection between plants and their consumers, Connie Barlow, and by extension, Paul Martin and Dan Janzen, solidified in my mind how deep those connections are (or were). To Barlow (and me too) it's sad to think th [...]


    8. Read in the Nook epub edition.Interesting ideas, though as not-a-scientist I'm unable to evaluate them. BUT. One reason I was reluctant to go back to reading this is that it's poorly written and very disorganized. Someone decided that Barlow's exploration of the idea with other scientists was the way to organize the thing; the result is that it's very difficult to follow what she's trying to say or even to figure out where the argument is headed next. Paragraphs with more than one topic; paragra [...]


    9. It's an excellent book. At one point it's very slightly repetitive and the last chapter (the one about the memorial service) is a bit self-indulgent, therefore 4 stars. However, I must confess the book brought me a new perspective on all the trees I see on a daily basis, and the fruits I often eat. I recommend it to anyone interested in finding out more about our world as it is and as it was, and human impact on it.


    10. Great idea, but poor execution. The book relies heavily on a 1982 paper by Janzen and Martin. The author keeps referring to it. In general, the book is quite repetitive (like a stutterer with amnesia). However, for some reason I wanted to finish this book. And I did learn a lot from it.


    11. The Ghosts of Evolution: Nonsense Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms© 2000 Connie Barlow291 pagesGrocery stores are excellent places to encounter ghosts. They lurk in the fruit section, feasting on anachronisms.The biological world is a wondrous web of connections between various animals and plants, and such connections are the source of evolution’s “endless forms most beautiful”. Not only does the contest between predators and prey – a biological ‘arms race’ [...]


    12. I don't read science books often. Obviously science has benefitted our society in many ways. But, I find the majority of it boring or difficult to understand. I looked back over my library and found that the only other science books I've read while using this website (which I've used for six years at this point!) were about animals, and I was never impressed with them. So I approached this book about plants with caution.Was this book boring or difficult for me to read? Boring, no. This book deve [...]


    13. The idea: four starsExecution: two starsThe general theses of this book is very interesting: fruits such as avocado are anachronistic because the animals for which they evolved are long extinct. I really wanted to read a book about that. I do however have a few problems with how that theses is presented here, which can be summarized with the question: 'for whom was this book written?' It seems to want to please both specialistic scientists and the general public and in the end is suitable for ne [...]


    14. Here is an interesting premise: Today we have a variety of extant fruits that appear to lack faunal dispersants. The idea came from a published scientific paper where the authors realized the world was full of fruits with large seeds (avocado is a good example), yet the plants exist in areas without animals large enough to swallow, and later disperse, the seeds. The whole idea of a fruit is to offer a tasty lure in order to have the actual seeds eaten and later deposited in an area away from the [...]


    15. The avocado fruit has a very large pit; it was obviously meant to be swallowed whole and excreted. By whom? There is no wild animal in the Americas now with a sufficiently wide digestive tract, but there were many 13,000 years ago, before Clovis hunters killed them all off. Many other trees around the world depend on extinct animals for seed dispersal: the papaya, the mango, the durian, the cherimoya; the ginkgo is still waiting for dinosaurs to eat and excrete its seeds, 65 million years after [...]


    16. The de-extinction crowd would like this if they haven't already read it (it's been out for 13 years, so probably already have). Why do gingkos smell of rotten meat, and why do the honey locust pods persist on the ground more than a year after falling? The answer, according to Jantzen & Martin in a 1982 paper is that their ecological partners are missing- animals with a gullet large enough to swallow the massive avocado seed and dump it with a nice patch of fertilizer, carnivores willing to t [...]


    17. This book is more about how an idea came to be, like a documentary than it is about expressing the concepts of that idea.The premise of the idea is that some plants do not fit in their environment. Their range has possibly been shrinking since the Ice Age because they were dispersed by animals that are now extinct such as giant ground sloths and mammoths.Examples are mesquite, osage orange, honey locust. Their fruits are large and the seeds are not spread by existing animals.


    18. Really fascinating and informative premise that, for a general interest, is entirely covered in the first chapter. The many chapters that follow are mostly repetitive; expounding on the argument and providing many more examples of ecological anachronisms. Perhaps the specialists in the field will appreciate the rest of what to me would have been a great article.


    19. Pretty good. Barlow nicely synthesizes the as-yet pretty thin-on-the-ground science of anachronisms, namely plants that have lost their evolutionary mutualists due to extinction. There are a few moments of ridiculous hopefulness in the last chapter, but on the whole a nice description of a fascinating phenomenon. Makes you want to bring home some honey locust pods and stare at them a while.


    20. This book is a good example of diminishing returns. the first chapter blew my mind with pleistocene history and demonstrated the thesis, and each subsequent chapter had more goodies to make the same point. O doesn't finish but would recommend reading at least the first few chapters.


    21. I too like to walk around New York City looking at plants. (as Ellen Crotty can attest to) I just never knew that many of them were what I have just learned to be 'anacronistic'. A new way to appreciate the strength and patience of the natural world.




    22. What can I say; this book changed how I think about contemporary plant species and their geographic distributions. If you love mastodons, you'll love this book.



    23. Very interesting! From now on I will look differently at pawpaws, osage oranges, honey locusts, Kentucky coffee tree and imagine Torreya in the Blue Ridge Escarpment.


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