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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 21.2 > PLANTS THAT EAT ANIMALS

PLANTS THAT EAT ANIMALS

There’s no sign that giant man-eating (or cow-eating!) plants exist anywhere in nature. But for well over a century, plant-monster hoaxes, science fiction, and horror stories have been inspired by the amazing fact that some plants actually do consume small animals.

Several groups of plants have independently evolved this same gruesome strategy to survive in environments where important nutrients are scarce—they extract those nutrients from the bodies of animals they capture and kill. Some of these true-life carnivorous plants use sweet smells or flower-like shapes to lure prey into their traps. These tricks allow stationary plants to get nutrients delivered right to them—a bit like ordering pizza and then eating the delivery person.

Seen But Not Understood

PITCHER PLANT:THE WAS RE-DRAWN BASED ON ANOTHER IMAGE IN DARWIN’S BOOK.
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About Skeptic

UPLOADING YOUR BRAIN SPECIAL ISSUE: Uploading the Mind to a Computer Mind Uploading: An Argument for the Scientific and Technical Plausibility of Preserving Thoughts Indefinitely by Kenneth Hayworth; Uploading Your Mind Does Not Compute by Peter Kassan; Virtual Immortality: Why the Mind-Body Problem is Still a Problem by Robert Lawrence Kuhn SPECIAL SECTION: What Motivates Extremists? Once Upon a Time: Re-Thinking the Fight Against Extremists by Tina Dupuy; Dealing With Islamism: Trust, Costly Signaling and Forming Moral Teams by Peter Boghossian and James A. Lindsay; Apocalypse Soon?: How Emerging Technologies, Population Growth, and Global Warming Will Fuel Apocalyptic Terrorism in the Future by Phil Torres ARTICLES Paleoanthropology Wars: The Discovery of Homo naledi has Generated Considerable Controversy in this Scientific Discipline by Nathan H. Lents; Charlie Sheen’s HIV Goat Milk Doctor by Harriet Hall, M.D.; Massachusetts: Mass Hysteria Cover Up by Robert E. Bartholomew; Agony and Ecstasy: Were Saint Paul’s Christian Beliefs a Symptom of Epileptic Personality Disorder? by Harry White; In Defense of Anti-Science: Why the Anti-anti-science Movement Has Gone too Far by J. Howard Siegal; The Decline of Intelligent Design: The 10th Anniversary of the Dover Decision and the Demise of Intelligent Design by Donald Prothero COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Flu Shots Facts and Fallacies by Harriet Hall, M.D.;The Gadfly: How Accurate is the “Cycle of Abuse”? by Carol Tavris REVIEW “Sacred Cows: A Lighthearted Look at Belief and Tradition Around the World” by Seth Andrews reviewed by Donald Prothero JUNIOR SKEPTIC: Man-Eating Plants: The Cannibal Tree of Madagascar by Daniel Loxton.
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