When I was out walking over the weekend, in my ongoing attempt to get safe blood sugar control back, I came across a beautiful array of thornless or near thornless roses. They were covering the back fence of a house that backs onto the reserve where I go walking.
I began to think about thorns and their purpose. A thornless rose is not exactly an evolutionary dead end, but lacking thorns makes survival more difficult. Without a good set of thorns, what’s to stop a wandering quadruped grazing on the shoots that will become flowers, then seeds? A thornless rose has the most advantage to bipeds like ourselves, with back fences and footpaths and a tendency towards litigation and/or tendencies towards pruning.
It’s only humans that truly appreciate a thornless rose, especially while pruning. And, it’s only through humans that they prosper, as we propagate them. An example of what Pollan might call co-evolution. In his view, it was the apple that seduced Eve. Sweetness sells to humans.
Which brings me to diabetes. I recall reading somewhere that insulin resistance was an evolutionary advantage in the ace age. Prioritise sending sugar to your brain, as that extra bit of mental alertness might just save your palaeolithic life. I wish I could remember where I read this so I could check the references and follow up. It seemed reasonable when I read first. Not entirely sure now. Wouldn’t the ability to shunt sugar to your brain be a handy defence no matter what the environmental circumstances?
Am I the equivalent of a thornless rose?
More to ponder, clearly.