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        Part of Evolution Series
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        Shape of Trees: The Frustration Principle

        This series of images is from The Evolutionary Biology of Plants, by biologist Karl Niklas, who used computer modeling to recreate the selective factors that influenced the shape of early land plants. When Niklas favored plants that could gather light from the sun, they had non-overlapping horizontal branches. When reproductive success was favored, the plants grew tall, in order to spread their seeds. When the trait selected for was mechanical stability, the plants had few horizontal branches. But when Niklas combined these selective advantages, the result looked a lot like today's land plants, which, instead of having great success at one, have evolved to perform all of the functions well enough to survive.

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