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What would happen if we didn't have seeds?
Question Date: 2018-03-27
Answer 1:

You asked what would happen if we didn't have seeds. Great question, a lot!

I think a good starting place to answer your question would be to ask - Why do we have seeds? What are they for?

Plants make seeds as a means to reproduce and spread. An oak tree starts as a small acorn, which grows and develops into a large tree. That tree will produce thousands of acorns which will then each become new oak trees. So seeds exist as a way for plants to create new generations. In fact, one of the properties that makes something a living thing (versus a non-living, inanimate object) is that it tries to reproduce, make copies of itself and spread.

So if all living things reproduce, and seeds are a means of reproducing - what would the world look like if there were no seeds? Well, there are a number of ways that organisms reproduce without seeds. Bacteria and microbes do cell division, where they make a duplicate copy of their DNA and literally split in half; at the end of the process there are 2 identical bacteria where there initially was just one bacterium. Some plants can do something called 'vegetative reproduction' where you can cut off a branch from the plant and the cut branch will sprout roots out of the bottom and behave just like the original plant as a clone. So if 'seeds' as a mechanism for reproduction had never evolved, a lot of plants that we see today might use alternative methods for reproducing.

Another interesting thought is what would happen to all the life that depend on seeds existing. Kangaroo rats and other small mammals eat seeds, birds eat seeds, some insects eat seeds - all of those organisms would have to find another way to make a living if seeds suddenly disappeared off the face of the planet. Seeds are so important, that people have actually started harvesting seeds of all different plant species and have started storing them away in seed vaults at very cold temperatures, just as an insurance policy in case something dramatic happened that threatened all the seeds above ground. (you can read more about this famous one on Wikipedia saving seeds ). ~ Katherine LeVan, PhD Ecologist at the National Ecological Observatory Network.

Answer 2:

While it might seem that no seeds would mean no plants, other mechanisms of reproduction exist. Spores, tubers, and asexual reproduction are all used by various types of plants. While the world would look different, seeds are not a requirement for the existence of the vegetation which is so important to the rest of life on Earth.

Answer 3:

Before there were seeds, there weren't any people. There were plants like ferns that reproduced with spores.

There is an article on the Internet "Seed Banks for Preserving World Food". There's a lot of interesting stuff in the article. It's also a bit unusual, because the site is for people who want to be able to survive on their own.

" If we didn’t have plants, we would not only have a food problem; we would have an atmospheric problem. Our very existence depends on plants."

Answer 4:

Not all plants have seeds. Ferns and mosses do not. Unfortunately for us, ferns and mosses aren't very edible to us humans, so we would probably starve. Life on land existed for millions of years before seeds evolved, however, and the insects and other animals on land then did just fine.

Answer 5:

This is a really fun question because it’s easy to assume that all plants grow from seeds, but this actually isn’t true. Many plants like mosses and ferns don’t use seeds at all! These plants release spores into the wind which then blow to far away areas and grow up into new plants. So if plants don’t need seeds, why do they exist? Seeds have a variety of functions for developing plants. For one, they serve as a shield against the environment. Seeds might be eaten along with fruit, stepped on, or dropped from a large height, but the outer shell of the seed protects the plant inside. Furthermore, the seed contains food for the plant to eat while it waits to grow. This allows the young plant to wait until it is in an ideal environment to grow. Without this store of nutrients, the plant would have to emerge from its seed very quickly and that could be dangerous if the conditions were not right. Seeds are a really important adaptation that many plants have and while they are not completely necessary, they make a young plant’s life much easier. Thank you for your question!

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