Tracking the co-evolution of grass and humanity

High on grass: “We live in the age of grass,” writes Olivia Judson, a research fellow in biology at Imperial College London, on the New York Times’ Opinionator blog. Indeed, some of the crops that helped make humans an agricultural creature and create our complex civilization are grasses: wheat, rice, sugar cane, and corn, to name a few. Over the course of two posts (on evolution and wind-pollination), Judson examines the natural history of these critically important plants, first arguing that the evolution of grasses drove the evolution of important animals and, eventually, humanity. In the second, on pollination of flowering plants, she notes how most plants are pollinated by insects and animals, but about 10 percent — including grasses — use the wind. (New York Times Opinionator)

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