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Top Story

How did carnivorous plants acquire a taste for meat?

To the average plant-eating human, the thought of a plant turning the tables to feast on an animal might seem like a lurid novelty. Now, science is showing just how remarkable these macabre traits really are. A new study probes the origins of carnivory in several distantly related plants--including the Australian, Asian and American pitcher plants, which appear strikingly similar to the human (or insect) eye. Although each species developed carnivory independently, the research concludes that the biological machinery required for digesting insects evolved in a strikingly similar fashion in all three. The findings hint that for a plant, the evolutionary routes to carnivory may be few and far between.

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