Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Devil's Conkers

Dendrologists (Tree Botanists) are flocking to Chorlton Ees after the discovery of a new species of tree.

The Ploplar (Canis Inconsideratus) has evolved a unique method of preventing insects and small mammals from eating its vulnerable leaves. The scientists aren’t sure how it does it, but the Ploplar has managed to persuade a small minority of Manchester’s dog walkers to contribute to its defences. Without realising that they’re part of a complex ecological chain, the dog walkers allow their animals to defecate near the tree (usually whilst looking around and whistling nonchalantly), then bag it up.

Here’s where the tree pulls the trick.

Instead of the walker then selfishly carrying the bag to a place of disposal like a bin, the tree compels them to tie it to one of its lower branches, at once creating a powerful olfactory deterrent and a beautiful visual image. The more successful trees can have as many as twenty bags dangling in the wind.

Known as Devils Conkers, they come in a wide variety of colours and sizes. The most common form is the white, supermarket bag. These beauties can hang there forever. They can sometimes outlive the tree before depositing their still moist contents back onto the path and ultimately into the complex tread of a casual training shoe, necessitating removal with a matchstick or toothpick.

Note how the small carrier bag, full of turds, blends seamlessly with it's host to become almost invisible to the naked eye.

It’s another incredible demonstration of the way that Nature can nurture symbiotic relationships between unsuspecting neighbours. As far as the human is concerned, it’s a simple act of couldn’t-give-a-fuckedness, right up there with parking on the school zigzags at drop off time or laughing at mentally ill contestants in the first rounds of The X Factor. Little do they know that those little sacks of semi-digested Winalot are helping to fend off all manner of marauders.

Some trees have evolved even further, to deter larger birds from picking their berries. In the example below, the tree has artfully fashioned the bag of discarded dogshit, to vaguely resemble a dead blackbird.

All but the hungriest of birds (and anyone that’s just had their tea) will be immediately put off by this fascinating display of animal imitation.

Collidge of Nollidge grabbed a word with tree expert, Doctor Eddie Bluebottle.

“This has changed decades of orthodox thought on arboreal behaviour. Up until this discovery, we were all guilty of thinking that the tying of little bags of shit to branches, usually adjacent to a bin, was a grotesque practice, carried out by people who had a complete disregard for anyone else. I hold my hands up. I’m a mild mannered man, but it used to get me so mad, I’d dream of catching one of the buggers and making them eat it. But I had it all wrong. We’ve been granted the great privilege of seeing evolution progressing in front of our very eyes. The next time I see someone climbing into a perfectly clean car, having just fastened half a pound of dog eggs to the nearest bush, I’m going to go up and shake their hands.”

(With thanks to Mark Hillsdon and Mitzi)

1 comment:

  1. This terrible! It's going to ruin the pleasure of strolling past the richard, and taking a surruptitious peek, trying to determine mutt size, content, possible worm infestation, and shoe swamping potential.