Stop to smell the roses…
Flowers invest hella energy into creating some bizarre reproductive organs. Thatâ€™s what youâ€™re giving your mom, sweetheart, sick uncle in a vase of mixed bouquet. Plant nuticles.
While monkies get some colorful behinds to signal their sexy monkyness, flowering plants are far more lurid. Desert wildflowers come to mind especially; their entire annual life is devoted to storing water and sunlight into cellulose so at that frisky time of year, they can get some breedinâ€™ done. Their Clark Kent pre-breeding life is usually some dull, low to the ground scrubby shrub, then they abruptly grow a tall stalk with about 99.8% of their lifeâ€™s net energy to burst into a colorful stamen-pistil promoters.
When their ability to flower (re: free love) evolved, niche specialization became real popular. Survival of fittest, el al., and the flowering plants become more nutrient-dense at the expense of SIZE. Well our big dinosaur friends ate big, innutritious plants. Their big bellies were likely fermentation vats to help digests the chewy chew chew and their size was their ally. But once the select flowering plants became spinach-like, the little specializing dinosaurs became Popeye-like. The little dudes out-competed the big dudes. Decline of big dinos, but surge of little ones. Throw in a meteorite (hmmmâ€¦ Chicxulub crater?) which tend to disproportionately kill big things (20 kg +) and no rideable dinosaurs survive. (Ostriches donâ€™t count.)
But perhaps dinosaurs initiated the conditions that moved plants on the path to angiosperm-y life.
The origins of the flower are plenty murky. The big D-man called plants an â€œabominable mystery,â€ and went back to his barnacles and finches. Linneaus had a thing about plants, and went about systematically naming them racy things in Latin.
Okay, maybe I would give up roses for a saddled hadrosaur. But the same flowering plants begat fruiting plants led to monkies eating caloric fruit and having more spare energy to devote to brain, less to the gut. So Iâ€™d have to be a small-brained monkey girl riding the hadrosaur, bareback, since I wouldnâ€™t have the capacity to invent a saddle. Or domesticate anything, so itâ€™d be a bareback, hadrosaur rodeo. And the winnerâ€™d be garlandâ€™d in ferns and cycad leaves, not roses.
And I think all this had something to do with the fact that flowers are just beautiful nutsaks. I guess thereâ€™s no shortage of flowers named in that honor: amorphophallus springs to mind, orchids, too. Although Georgia Oâ€™Keefe seemed to have something else in mind.