156

It slowly kills the animal in order to spread over larger distances across soil with poor nutrients. So if your fruit kills the host 1 meter away, not much gain. Let the host migrate for days. Now if you kill the host while inside the digestive tract, the seed can spawn a large plant using the decomposing host's body. Nature is full of examples. Wasps ...


59

The simplest answer is that the delayed poisonous effect is a secondary (and from the plant's perspective, inconsequential) effect compared to the primary evolutionary purpose of the compound in question. For example: Let's assume that the poison in the berry kills by initiating a chain of biochemical reactions in a human who consumes it that causes renal ...


43

Dosage is wrong. Poison dosage is a function of size. There's a very humorous urban legend involving the legendary wrestler Andre the Giant when he was diagnosed for anesthesia, which they needed to base off his alcohol tolerance of 2 liters worth of vodka to give him a buzz. (The story is false, the tolerance isn't.) If a berry was developed with the ...


26

There are two evolutionary deterring mechanisms: "Teach a lesson" and "Don't develop a habit". In "Teach a lesson", the effect is quick and not necessarily fatal. Animals who tasted "wrong" fruits learn to avoid them. In "Don't develop a habit" an animal may eat what it wants - it only happens that somehow there won't be any animals that have developed a ...


17

Mating selectivity Color vision of mammals is good enough to appreciate things like a peacock's tail. And that's the possible mechanism. Female selectivity of male display. Mister Hopeful has colorful hair, maybe colorful skin markings. And he struts and displays them to attract the attention of Miss Prospective. The guy with the most colorful markings ...


16

There are plenty of toxins that take quite a bit of time to harm humans, or aren't even harmful at all in reasonable doses,because they are more immediately harmful to other creatures. Examples include chocolate, tobacco, poppies, marijuana, willow, peppers, and coffee. A poisonous plant's typical targets are insects and caterpillars, so if it's not ...


15

As official enforcement fades or fails, unofficial enforcement rises. It starts as vigilantes. And then some local charismatic leader gets a few blocks organised. Maybe it's only guys walking in a group and carrying clubs at first. Resources of any kind become the sources of power for fiefdoms. Source of food, source of water, source of shelter, source of ...


11

It bears remembering that not everything that evolves provides an advantage. Most changes are neutral, or only mildly deleterious so there's insufficient pressure to weed them out of the gene pool. The fact that the berries are poisonous to some species that eat them might be entirely co-incidental... for some reason, some random structural protein is ...


9

The berry is poisonous because it evolved to be eaten by a different animal. Plants have fruit to trick animals into distributing their seeds. Any plant whose berries are eaten by an animal whose digestive tract will destroy the seeds will fail to reproduce. So there is evolutionary pressure to evolve berries that are only eaten by useful animals. Maybe ...


8

So, apologies in advance but this will be a negative answer. Normally I'd flag this sort of question as far too broad, but realistically your premise is for a world that's either going to turn back to a terrestrial state (and so you can just look at the history of life on earth) or will remain so hideously inhospitable that surface life likely won't exist. ...


8

How could I make an evolutionary pathway that leads to that happening? Sounds like you already answered your own question, right here: most mammals don't have good enough color vision for it to have real evolutionary value. Mammals probably lost two of their four cone cell types waaaay back in the time of the dinosaurs, for as-yet unknown reasons, but ...


7

It merely inebriates the target consumer but kills humans The substance that is poisonous to humans causes only mild intoxication in the species of birds that usually consume the berries and then spread the seeds through their feces. This is beneficial to the plant, so it produces the substance the birds crave. Humans are much larger than those birds and ...


7

If I had to guess, it would straight up be water. Some big companies literally pump millions of tons of this stuff out of the ground and then distribute it across the globe to make a very healthy profit. I found this article which states that "Coca-Cola Amatil" pays 2.40 for a million litres of water. Basically it costs $2.40 for 1000 metric tons of water, ...


5

Evolution is messy and slow Based on my understanding, evolution comes about from mutations in individual members of the species which makes them more or less likely to produce offspring and pass on that mutation. This means evolution would favour traits that provide an evolutionary benefit, but not providing an evolutionary benefit doesn't mean such ...


5

I guess the thing with non-colorful mammals is they typically don't have ways to escape easily like birds or insects from predators, so they have to rely more on sneaking and hiding, and this would be a natural reason to not be very distinguished with colored fur. Therefore ecosystems where mammals don't have to fear being eaten nor need to sneak to their ...


4

It is pretty straightforward: citizens obey the law enforcement because they know that there is a government behind them, exercising its power. If the government is not capable of exercising its power, then the law enforcement are simply wearing a fancy dress taken from some Village People video clip. You state that the high up are gone, it means there is ...


4

The seeds of this plant require darkness and a lot of proteins to develop. When an animal eats it, the seed implants itself in the digestive tract of the animal and slowly releases its poison. After several days, the animal dies and the seed digests its dead body from the inside in order to grow. As the body decays, the new plant emerges and grows to ...


4

It did not evolve to be eaten by humans! Or humans did not co-evolve with it. A berry is a bribe, to get an animal to eat the berry and to transport the seed within in its gut. A slow poison is pointless, it lacks even deterrent value. But if it evolved to be harmless to some common seed-distributing animals, it may still express toxins that poison (...


4

You can't make the atmosphere's temperature uniform... you'll always be losing heat into space and the Earth is quite warm so air will always be heated from below. A temperature gradient will re-appear immediately, and you're back to square one. Option one is therefore to cool the planet down until the atmosphere condenses out. No atmosphere, no wind. Cool ...


4

Well we humans are pretty much mammals and even thought it's not through (biological) evolution we started to dye our hair in different colors. Perhaps you are able to find an evolutionary reasoning in that? Like standing out to find a mate? Also an option would be a plant based one, certain sloths for example have a greenish appearance through moss ...


4

The short answer is "if they were adapted for lower light levels, they would have to protect their eyes". Brighter stars emit more energy all through the EMR spectrum, including the infared. However, the intensity experienced during a creature's evolution would be less a function of the star's spectral range, and more the proximity of the planet to the ...


3

The plant was too popular a meal Berries are used to spread the plant in animal spoor, but there are simply too many animals eating these berries. They even eat the berry bushes, because there's just too many and they're all hungry. Even though berries are spreading the seeds, the plants are just being killed too quickly by predation. Slow acting deadly ...


3

Younger Dryas was an abrupt event with roughly the feature you require, except the periodicity. The Younger Dryas (around 12,900 to 11,700 years BP) was a return to glacial conditions after the Late Glacial Interstadial, which temporarily reversed the gradual climatic warming after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) started receding around 20,000 BP. ...


3

Cripes! Your mad scientist comes from Alice Springs. He'd know about saltbush. It's native to the Australian Outback. If he can do time travel, then breeding salt-resistant plants will be easy. Why bother with 6% of the planet's surface. Seed the 94% of the planet's surfave with haline-tolerant plants. After 400 million years of a well vegetated world &...


3

Ultimately, the answer you seek lies in Enzymes. These are essentially biological catalysts that greatly increase the rate of specific biochemical reactions in the body. Tie this to a hormone, like Estrogen (which is found in greater levels in females) and you have a biological catalyst that may only occur in female pollinators. The mechanism would be that ...


3

Females might get around more. In general, females of any species invest more energy in offspring than males. Eggs require more resource investment than sperm. This is true for pollinators too. If a female needs more energy, it must go get it. Assuming pollinators are visiting flowers for food, a female might visit more flowers than a male: it needs ...


3

I can see a few factors that would encourage that trait : a lack of predators: without the need to run and hide from predators, animals can afford to have flashier colors that makes them easier to spot Alternatively, perhaps the colors, while appearing flashy to us, blend in quite well with the equally colorful flora present. Continuing the adaptation to ...


3

Birds and Reptiles usually develop colorful displays for mating purposes. The general concept is that the colors denote exceptional health of the individual (usually the male). In some cases, like the Peacock, the display actually suits no functional evolution purpose other than showing off to the female that, in addition to being suited to live in it's ...


3

Construction / demolition debris. From comments: There are many types of materials where people will pay you to take it off of their hands. – Michael Kutz 13 hours ago Debris and especially demolition debris must be hauled away from the site where it is generated. People are paid to haul it away, rendering the cost of such materials a negative ...


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