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Re: Kassi oral anatomy (was Re: Kassi Kiss (...))

From:Barry Garcia <barry_garcia@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 2:41
>That would get us a world where the continents are green with fast >growing annuals and biennuals, consumed by the late summer fires and >by hordes of beetles that grow from buried grubs in spring to reach >two feet or more --- and a littoral and ripine civilization of gilled >merpeople with a strong taboo about fires: no metal work. All for the >price of 20 hPa of oxygen.
Of course, that scenario would also eliminate very large trees, or at least very large trees that live for long periods ;) . Or perhaps, woody plants could evolve very thick tannin rich bark (or some other fire retardant chemical), much like the redwoods of California have. They survive forest fires because their bark can be quite thick, sometimes a foot in places (fire is a common occurance in these forests). Naturally that applies to trees of great size. I believe i've heard that the Giant sequoias can have bark up to three feet thick. Although, if a fire does reach heartwood, it sometimes hollows the tree out, leaving just the cambial layer and the bark . They also are the fastest growing conifers in north America, growing at the rate of up to several feet a year. Here's a scenario i think would work: Any large plants would be found in swampy areas (drier areas resembling prairie, or brushland), and any fires that do sweep through burn off the tops of any plants of significant size. Resprouting occurs deep within the soil, perhaps from deep set "lignotubers" (this mechanism is utilized by plants of the Chapparal areas of California (an area which has evolved with fire and actually needs it to sprout the seeds of certain plants)). Lignotubers are woody swellings underground that resprout after a fire burns the top portions off). Bigger plants have evovled where development of the lignotuber occurs after the plant's primary root has pulled it several feet underground/under water. Growth is very fast, most plants growing several feet in a season (or constantly maybe). They also have high water/fire retardant chemical content to prevent too much damage from fire, and regenerate from the submerged lignotuber. That would probably also eliminate wood working, and plants would probably be prone to damage from wind. Just some ideas :)