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So really plants, and the invertebrates that followed them, made the habitats that allowed our distant relatives to make the transition from life on water to life on land.” – Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish, in an interview with Cara Santa Maria on episode 107 of her podcast, Talk Nerdy To Me Plants were not the first living beings to colonize land – microorganisms have been terrestrial for what could be as long as 3.5 billion years, and lichens first formed on rocks somewhere between 550 and 635 million years ago – however, following in the footsteps of these other organisms, land plants paved the way for all other forms of terrestrial life as they migrated out of the waters and onto dry land.
The botanical invasion of land was a few billion years in the making and is worth a post of its own.
Because if it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be much life on this planet to speak of, including ourselves. The diminutive stature of mosses may give one the impression that they are inconsequential and of little use. In her book, Gathering Moss, Robin Wall Kimmerer describes how mosses support diverse life forms: There is a positive feedback loop created between mosses and humidity.
Without woodpeckers, birds such as chickadees and tits, swallows and martins, bluebirds, some flycatchers, nuthatches, wood ducks, hooded mergansers, and small owls would be homeless.
As plants die, they continue to provide food and habitat to a variety of other organisms.
Some have many more interactions than others, but all are “used” in some way.
And even after they die, plants continue to interact with other organisms, as is the case with standing dead trees (a.k.a. In his book, Welcome to Subirdia, John Marzluff explains that when “hole creators” use dead and dying trees, they benefit a host of “hole users:” Woodpeckers are natural engineers whose abandoned nest and roost cavities facilitate a great diversity of life, including birds, mammals, invertebrates, and many fungi, moss, and lichens.
The history of Santa Claus is actually quite interesting, and varies depending upon the country. She is Jewish, owns her own massage business, lives in New York and is a vegetarian. The Welsh name for Santa is 'Sion Gorn' ( pronounced 'Shwn Gorrn' with the 'r's rolled).