Monday, January 8, 2007
An interesting fact
The phrase "warm-blooded creatures" actually not referred to those creatures with warm blood temperatures. The word "warm-blooded" actually referred to the abilities of some organisms to maintain constant internal body temperatures through processes of Endothermy, Homeothermy and Tachymetabolism.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warm-blooded). However, not only class aves and mammali are warm-blooded. Some plants are "
warm-blooded" too.For instance, the skunk cabbage. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Skunk_Cabbage). This interesting plant can actually continue to grow while the earth is covered by snow. This is because of its special ability to produce heat.(picture of skunk cabbage melting snow around it from:http://www.darbycreeks.org/skunk%20cabbage%2072.jpg). This ability is called Thermogenesis, which is defined as "the process of heat production in organisms"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermogenesis).This ability to generate heat enables it to grow and flower while the snow is still on the ground – even though the plant is not frost-resistant. This also prevents the frosts from forming on the flower of the plant. However, this plant did not developed this ability just to keep itself warm. Instead,it uses its thermogenic abilities to enable its flowers to bloom earlier so as to allow the pollinators to find the plant earlier.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Skunk_Cabbage).By heating up the plant can also render its scent more volatile, and therefore allowing its strong scent to disperse further to attract more insects as pollinators. This plant gives out an unpleasant strong odor which smells like rotten meat. However,insects love this smell and are attracted by it. The insects acted as pollinators to help to transfer pollen from one cabbage to another.(http://www.fcps.edu/StratfordLandingES/Ecology/mpages/skunk_cabbage.htm).This interesting plant can be found in eastern North America and also in northeastern China and Japan. Additionally, from my own knowledge, this plant had appeared before in an old movie '
"Dennis the Meanace".
Credits: all sources of informations are written in ( ) brackets.