Triumph of the Rootheads: Gouldian thoughts on Parasitism

Amazing post! Thanks for sharing this interesting information!

Myco Modo

Stephen Jay Gould’s essay ‘Truimph of the Rootheads’ is some of the best stuff I’ve read on parasitism. To understand parasitism requires an understanding of evolution, that appreciates the fact that using the term ‘evolved’ in a superlative, linear sense (what he calls ‘culture’s focal misunderstanding of evolution’) is a falsehood, and often in the natural world, adaptation, over long periods of time leads to apparent simplification, in morphological terms at least (life cycles are another matter). In his essay he decides to focus on a group of crustaceans that parasitise crustaceans – Rhizocephala, of which there are a couple of hundred species. At points in their life cycle they represent nothing more than a formless reproductive bag (they’re also called Sacculina, or ‘little sac). To this bag is attached a stalk that pierces the crab’s abdomen and connects the bag, or ‘externa’ to a network of roots…

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