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Inner biologist speaks out
Mimi Smartypants asks a very good question: Trees can release all the seeds they want, but it's not like city planners and city residents are just going to let a giant tree grow right in the middle of a privately (or publicly) owned space, even supposing that the seed did manage to land in actual ground and not on concrete or asphalt. Chicago trees come from tree farms and are planted in a prearranged location, so all this tree-style sexy propagation is futile. Do trees adapt under adverse-for-procreation conditions like animals do?

Allow me to whip out my inner biologist and answer that.

If by "adapt" you mean "adapt", then yes, trees adapt to their environment like any other organism does. For instance most will shed their leaves when the fall comes and bud in spring, either because of changes in temperature or because of the change in the amount of sunlight per day.

If by "adapt" you mean "evolve" then no. An organism cannot evolve*. Only a species can, or rather: a population can. To evolve, a population must reproduce, creating offspring with different mixes of genetic code, some of which will be better suited to the current environment. No reproduction, no evolution. Merely spreading seeds around in vast quantities is not enough.

Note: the concepts explained above are a gross simplification of a much larger issue. Check out your local library to learn more.


*) this despite numerous science fiction scenarios where an individual changes it's genetic code and transforms into another species, for instance a fly or a bug eyed monster.

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