posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 02:43 PM
Scientists have recently theorized that olive trees which have male and hermaphrodite genders actually evolved from the hermaphrodite. Why would
males evolve from hermaphrodites, rather than the other way around?
Initially, it is likely that all trees were "multisexual" - able to emit pollen or receive pollen. Over time, some lost their female sexual organs,
rendering them, essentially, males. And male olive trees thrive and maintain steady numbers. Why wouldn't male trees be at a disadvantage
considering that, unlike hermaphrodite trees which can reproduce via two conduits, males cannot be pollinated?
Turns out hermaphrodite trees are only able to successfully reproduce with half of their fellow hermaphrodites. Males, on the other hand, can
successfully reproduce with all hermaphrodites, creating a species-wide balance.
What does it mean? Is there an inference that specialized gender roles may free resources for more concentrated reproduction? Or, looking at the
bigger picture, are multiple genders more successful than a single sex that is able to reproduce either way? Or, like so many other species with
unusual reproductive systems, are olive trees just weird?
If anything, I've developed a suspicion of extra-virgin olive oil.
Scientists Explain How Males Evolved From A
Self-Fertilizing "Third Sex"