How To Be a *Plant (*Photosynthetic, Multicellular, Terrestrial)

Plants have no eyes or ears, yet they sense their environment, no lungs or gills, yet they exchange gasses, and no stomach or heart, yet they assimilate and move nutrients. To understand how plants work, it helps to look at them not from the perspective of animal physiology, but instead to start by considering the common ancestor of plants and animals, and then to compare the evolutionary paths each lineage followed. What opportunities and limitations did each evolutionary transition provide? In this lecture we focus on three monumental events in the evolutionary history of plants: the acquisition of the chloroplast, the transition to a multicellular body form, and the transition to life on dry land. 

Posted July 16, 2013, revised by Mary Williams and Vagner Benedito September 13, 2017.