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posted by charon on Wednesday January 18 2017, @08:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the found-by-Mars-rover-during-testing dept.

In Chile a woody vine, Boquila trifoliolata, has been discovered to change the shape of its leaves depending on what tree is is climbing.

Further, the same single vine can drape from one tree to different species of tree, and it will match the shape and size of its leaves to those of each host only along that portion of its length.

Other vines are known to mimic one species of host, as a defense against herbivores, but this vine can mimic many, along its length.

Biologists say "It is unclear how B. trifoliolata vines discern the identity of individual trees and shape-shift accordingly." Speculation is that chemicals or microbes might trigger gene-activating signals that trigger leaf differentiation.

But left unsaid is how would the vine "learn" match the shape of its new host's leaf, how it would know it had succeeded, where it would acquire the genes to do so, and how many different trees it can mimic.

Don't you need eyes to copy someone else's look?

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