Why does vitamin-rich fruit form around a seed?


Why does vitamin-rich fruit form around a seed?

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Depending on the fruit there are a few benefits.

It can nourish the seed with the nutrients, or it can encourage spread.
If an animal wants to eat the fruit, but cannot digest the seed, then the seed is passed through the animal and pooped out somewhere else. This would spread the seed farther than just falling off the plant.

In order to make someone eat the fruit and spread the seeds. Many seeds have hard shells so that they can pass undigested and be pooped out in a pile of fertilizer.

And vitamins aren’t made by the plant specifically in order to nourish the eater, instead the eater evolved to be dependent on the substances it eats every day.

Vitamin C is a good example of the mechanism in action, because it’s actually only vital for primates and humans, because other animals make their own. We have the genes for it, but they’re broken. That wasn’t noticeable when it happened to our ancestors way back, because they got enough of it in their food anyway, so our species branch didn’t die out as a consequence.

Fruit’s intended purpose is to be eaten, because the animal that eats it then deposits the seeds in their dung in a new location, conveniently among what will quickly become manure and compost. In order to make the fruit appetizing, its loaded with sugars, water, and nutrients to encourage consumption by animals.

I think this is the kind of question that arises from an incorrect assumption of causality. It’s easy for us to assume that because we need vitamins and fruits contain vitamins the fact that there is vitamin in fruits is somehow related to us, or other animals.

GalFisk touches on the better way to think about it in their answer: Fruits contain vitamins because vitamins are simply chemicals that are very important to lots of different organisms, including the fruit itself. The fruit contains the vitamins because the fruit need vitamins to survive.

In fact so many different things need these same chemicals to survive that at some point in our evolution it was simply more effective for us humans (or whatever our forefathers at that point in time would have been) to stop being able to make those chemicals by themselves. Because almost everything we ate contained the chemicals it was easier for us to just get them from our food than waste precious energy making them ourselves inside our bodies.

And so vitamins became vital for us to consume, because things like fruit already created so much of them that we stopped being able to make it ourselves.

Originally, it was the plant bribing an animal.

Most plants with nutritious fruits also have seeds that can survive a trip through the an animal’s digestive system. For these plants, the way they spread their seeds is by having the fruit get eaten by the right kind of animal; and then the seeds grow in the animal’s poop. Over time, the plants that gave more nutrients got eaten more, so spread their seeds more.

The modern human reason is selective breeding. Humans specifically planted seeds from plants that gave better fruits; and provided protection, planting, and nutrients – which resulted in more and more nutritious fruits over time.