Caussey's Corner

Caussey’s Corner: Plants are Our Friends From Ancient Times to Now

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Since the earliest days of creation, plants have made major contributions to the development of humankind, more so than animals.

They have witnessed the dawn of time and marched in lockstep with humans from the very beginning. Changing and adapting to survive. Helping to choreograph thousands of years of history, while continuing their existence as testaments to those historical occurrences.

Most of the giant mammals had died off by 10,000 BC. Great societies became grain harvesters rather than remain wandering meat eaters.

Between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago giant megafauna mammals became extinct across the earth. These creatures had a body mass over 97 lbs. There were giant sloths, and camels ten foot high at the shoulders (Titanotylopus). Also musk ox (Bootherium), giant hippos, giant beavers (Glyptotherium), and Mammoth elephants that had roamed the earth for tens of millions of years. There was one bird (Teratornithidae) the size of a Piper Cub.

Even the gigantic carnivores like lions (Smilodon, Homotherium) vanished in the blink of a cosmic eye. Over 33 different genre of mammals in North America alone disappeared from the pages of evolution. Only their skeletal remains bear testimony to their once existence. The Red Fir of Norway may be the last living organism to witness this great die-off.

Caussey's Corner: Plants are Our Friends From Ancient Times to Now

Photo: envato elements

What caused the great die off? Humans hunted these beasts to extinction. If we are not careful and become better stewards of the Creation, all plants will be become extinct or sickly alternates, just as the giant mammals.

On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m., what started as a typical day in the Japanese city of Hiroshima would live as a memorial to the destructive capability of humans. There near the Honkawa River an atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Ground temperature at the impact point may have reached as high as 10, 800 degrees F. A temperature so hot that some people were vaporized, leaving only their shadows on nearby walls and sidewalks to bear witness to their once presence.

1,214 feet from the impact area (ground zero) stands a weeping willow (Salix babilonica). Reborn from its roots left alive underground. I have seen that beautiful tree–a testimony for the will of survival.

Bahrain is a tiny archipelago country in the Persian Gulf, located between the peninsula of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. An ancient tree known as The Tree of Life stands there. It is majestic at thirty-two feet tall, standing atop a sandy hill and completely isolated in a desert setting where daily temperatures often exceed 130 degrees. There is nothing but sand and desolation for miles around. Yet here is this beautiful tree standing all alone.

The tree seems to have survived from at least the second half of the sixteenth century. The Tree of Life (Shajarat al-Hayat) classification is (Prosopis julifora). It originated in the hot, dry, salty parts of Mexico and South America. One of the most famous and oldest solitary trees, this tree is shrouded in mystery. The questions are: How did the tree get from Mexico-South America in the Western Hemisphere to a desert land near the Arabian Sea, and how did it survive so long? Answer: Portuguese sailors, and a sophisticated taproot system.

Caussey's Corner: Plants are Our Friends From Ancient Times to Now

Photo: envato elements

The oldest tree in the world is Old Tjikko, a Red Fir (Picea abies) discovered in Norway in 2008 that is 9,560 years old.

“Every species is a part of a network of relationships about what we know very little. Therefore, every living organism must be protected. Life is a rare commodity in the universe,” writes Stefano Mancuso.

Much of the above information was gleaned from his book, titled “The Incredible Journey of Plants,” and translated by Gregory Conti. The beautiful watercolors in the book were by Grisha Fischer. This book would make a nice gift for Earth Day, April 22.

You will read about how the avocado and the banana may become extinct, and what really happened to the Dodo Bird. You will learn about the dynamite plant of the Amazon. A place that may hold the secret to a cure for all disease unless we continue to destroy thousands of acres each year.

Durhl Caussey is a freelance writer out of Dallas, Texas. He is a regular contributor to Texas Hill Country.