The life of a plant may look static, uneventful. Plants are photosynthetic: they can produce their own food using CO2 and water, powered by sunlight. But behind their green façade, plants have a more complex, alien lifestyle than we usually give them credit for.
It was 1915 when our resident genius Albert Einstein published his theory of General Relativity. As Christmas trees stood tall and families reunited for the holidays that year, Einstein received a letter from a German soldier on the Russian front. This soldier was Karl Schwarzschild, who, amongst the guns and shouts, found a solution to Einstein’s theory that directly predicted black holes.
When Charles Darwin published his book Insectivorous Plants in the late 19th century, the idea of meat-eating flora larger than life soon captured the imaginations of creators. Plants capable of devouring human beings became a regular subject of periodical pieces, and featured in stories by famous authors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells. The idea of the man-eating plant has continued to endure in fiction—perhaps most famously in the musical film Little Shop of Horrors, where a sentient plant introduced into a flower shop demands the blood of its owner and soon begins to devour those around him.
When I first watched Jurassic Park as a kid, I wasn’t at all worried about dinosaurs becoming a problem in the future. It was just science fiction after all, surely we can’t bring an extinct animal back to life! As time passed, the movie started becoming more of a cautionary tale and less fictional as the progress of scientific advancements continued to accelerate. In a world with climbing extinction rates yet remarkable technological innovations, it seems that the resurrection of extinct species is the solution to the extinction problem, but is it really a solution free of consequences?