In graduate school, I earned beer money by modeling for life drawing classes in various art departments. (Don’t judge, grad school doesn’t pay well and beer isn’t free.) In the long hours standing around, I would survey the room and count how many of the aspiring artists were left-handed. Later in my career, I did the same thing—counting lefties, not standing around naked—in the biology classes I taught.
You might be under the impression that plants photosynthesize—using energy from the sun to turn carbon dioxide and water into delicious and nutritious sugar—and you’re mostly right. Even carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap practice this process to some extent (though nutrient-poor environments and inefficiency often lead them to supplement their diets with something a little bloodier). But not all flora are capable of feeding off of the sun. Some long ago abandoned this ability, having evolved other ways of gathering nutrients.
When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life. Everyone knows that classic line from Disney’s “The Lion King”. Kids and parents might have been slightly less charmed by this variation: The wildebeest must cross the river to eat, and a whole bunch of them die in the process. And then everything in the river gets to feast on their rotting remains. Oh, and their bones continue to leech nutrients into the water even after fish and insects have devoured their flesh. Other organisms also eats the algae that grows on the bones. Basically, some wildebeest need to die, Simba.
A company in the United Kingdom can transform chemicals found in oranges into the coveted flavor of grapefruit. By mixing the orange compounds with molecules made by living organisms, Oxford Biotrans creates natural flavors without having to ever crack open a grapefruit.