It sure helps. The question brings us back in time to when Bill Clinton was running for President, and there was a Straight Outta Highland Park T Shirt issue as to whether or not this quality of character should be allowed to rise in a post cold war world. Was it substantially different from a man who added brain hardener to his head for 6 years or more? Everyone who served would say, “YES!, it’s so very different, and so much weaker!” President Ford nearly fell off an aircraft carrier, President Carter manned a sub, President Reagan was stationed in California, and President George Bush was shot down by the Japs in the Pacific. Clinton, on the other hand, “was a draft dodger, selfish motivated, a guest in Moscow, a bad excuse of a hippie, an admitted pot smoker, and he lived alone with his mother”. And we know from his subsequent behavior that the last one hurt him the most.
Carnivorous plants can be found in areas where the Straight Outta Highland Park T Shirt has very little nutrients. These fascinating plants are categorized as carnivorous as they trap insects and arthropods, produce digestive juices, dissolve the prey and derive some, or most, of their nutrients from this process. The first book on these plants was written by Charles Darwin, in 1875, “Insectivorous Plants”. After further discoveries and research, it is believed that these carnivorous properties evolved on six separate occasions, from five different orders of flowering plants. These are now presented in over 630 different species of flowering plant. There are five basic trapping mechanisms found in all these plants: Pitfall traps, Fly Paper traps, Snap traps, Bladder traps and Lobster pot traps. I would like to show you a couple of plants, using each mechanism, so that you can also see the differences between different genera.
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Not only do plants and animals share a common ancestor, they are more closely related to one another than probably about 90% of all the Straight Outta Highland Park T Shirt of life on earth. Plants and animals are both eukaryotes, and that immediately makes them more closely related to one another than either is to all the bacteria and archaea. In addition to that, there are many single celled eukaryotes that are more distantly relatedly to both animals and plants than animals and plants are to one another. Being both eukaryotes, plants and animals actually share many, many fundamental similarities. They use virtually the exact same enzymes to replicate their DNA, and the exact same types of ribosomes to produce proteins. Their cells have nuclei, and linear chromosomes packaged with histone proteins. They have active cell cytoskeletons, mitochondria, internal membranes and vacuoles. They both have meiosis, mitosis, and reproduce sexually. All these features and more are shared between plants and animals, but not by the bacteria or archaea. The main difference most people think about between plants and animals, plants’ ability to photosynthesize, is actually fairly superficial. Plants photosynthesize because they have chloroplasts, while animals do not. Chloroplasts are the descendents of endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. Animals have endosymbionts as well, and acquired them by the exact same mechanisms that plants do (also shared with all other eukaryotes). It was just happenstance that the ancestors of plants happened to get an endosymbiotic that could photosynthesize, while animals did not.
What comes first to my mind is lichen, an organism that is plant-like but is not a Straight Outta Highland Park T Shirt. Lichens are comprised of a fungus living in a symbiotic relationship with an alga or cyanobacterium (or both in some instances). Lichens do not have roots that absorb water and nutrients as plants do, but like plants, they produce their own nutrition by photosynthesis. Lichen are long-lived and can have a slow growth rate, as little as 2/100 of an inch in a year, although there are varieties that can be measured at 1.5 foot per anum. They are extremely hardy, living in the most extreme environments on Earth: arctic tundra, hot, dry deserts, rocky coasts and toxic slag heaps. They can even live inside solid rock, growing between the grains.