Capn's Blog

Monday, November 21, 2005

Natural Wonder II

The other day I asked the question, "does something have to be fantasy to be fantastic?" and put forward the notion that there are many things in nature that are even more fantastic in real life than fantasy.

Another example is the life cycle of caterpillars and butterflies.

A caterpillar is hatched with all the cells it'll ever have. The cells aren't capable of dividing, they just get bigger and bigger. The body is also seeded with inactive areas of undifferentiated cells.

When the caterpillar forms into a pupa, the body cells break down into a soup, and the undifferentiated cells wake up and take over, using the soup to form all the parts of the adult butterfly.

It's true recycling in a way we can never imagine. Out of the ashes of the old organism comes another. To me, this is a pretty awesome feat.


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