Author Topic: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing  (Read 2496 times)

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Offline Damien

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Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« on: May 04, 2009, 05:13:12 PM »
Well I'm sure this question was asked before but what the heck.

Now lets see, we know that you can morph animals and different species since the whole DNA thing. But I've been thinking plants and bacteria have DNA to, couldn't they morph them? Not that they would but could they... not completely if they could think etc. after though since both plants and bacteria don't have brains at all..

Now that I think about it, could they get trapped in any mindless morph without being able to think, such as jellyfishes, they don't have a brain.
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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 05:38:34 PM »
Well from what i remember if they morphs something small their mind and mass is out in Z space. So they can morph anything with DNA and still have contact with their own mind. so Plants would be a plausible alternative but not exactly useful.  Helmacorns are fungus life forms so if that could be morphed (maybe) than perhaps plants can too.

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Offline ThinkAgain

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 05:40:53 PM »
I would assume that anything that could be morphed would need to:

A) Have some form of a nervous system. This does not rule out all incredibly small morphs; even copepods (a type of incredibly small zooplankton) have nerve cells. It does however, instantly rule out plants and fungi. A nervous system would be vital as to process conscious thought; there is no 'consciousness' without one, even if it is just the most simple of instincts. Without thought, they couldn't morph it, as they need conscious effort to do so. Even if morphing technology would allow one to acquire a plant, once they reach a point of no return, their mind will not exist outside of Z-space, and they would be trapped without being either conscious or aware of it.

B) Be multicellular. As in no bacteria, no protists and no unicellular fungi (which was already eliminated by A), and obviously viruses, which are not technically even considered a life form. This is a moot point to bring up, however, as point A already covers this, as a unicellular organism cannot possibly have a nervous system.

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Offline EmberGryphon

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2009, 02:25:52 PM »
A) Have some form of a nervous system. This does not rule out all incredibly small morphs; even copepods (a type of incredibly small zooplankton) have nerve cells. It does however, instantly rule out plants and fungi.


Define nervous system. ^~ Plants have a system of pressure-sensitive neurobiological cells that signal them to produce certain hormones and chemicals, and which may stimulate the growth of new stems/leaves/flowers/roots/whathaveyou. Studies suggest they feel and respond to pain, which is as much as lower animal life forms can do.

Whether or not they are "concious" isn't hinted at, at all, in those studies... but then, people have debated for centuries whether or not any sort of non-human animal could be considered "concious," so it's kind of moot. ^^() Most people wouldn't think twice about saying there is no possible way that a tree could be self-aware, but then, for a long time, people have been saying that same thing about birds, hamsters, cats, dogs, horses, elephants, dolphins....
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That said, I'm kind of going with Akhrrana here in asking why on Earth would someone want to morph into a Dandelion? ^^()

Offline wildweathel

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2009, 04:03:27 PM »
They already have shown that they can morph non-animals.

Animals are a taxon (one x) of terrestrial life.  They've morphed extraterrestrials that seem animal, true, but can't they just be a case of convergent evolution?
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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2009, 04:13:54 PM »
Rachel morphed a starfish back in #32 and starfish don't have brains, at least not in the same way that other creatures do.

Having said that, I highly doubt it's possible to morph plants or bacteria, and even if they could there would be no practical reason for doing so. They'd be completely helpless and could easily end up dead or trapped in a morph with no normal senses.

Bacteria divide and multiply themselves, so even if they could morph bacteria God knows what would happen to the morpher's mind if their "body" was split into thousands of pieces. It could end up like the starfish incident again, only much worse.

And how exactly would you acquire the DNA of bacteria? You can't exactly pick it up and focus on it.

They already have shown that they can morph non-animals.

Animals are a taxon (one x) of terrestrial life.  They've morphed extraterrestrials that seem animal, true, but can't they just be a case of convergent evolution?

Just because they're alien doesn't mean they aren't animals.
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Offline ThinkAgain

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2009, 04:16:15 PM »
They already have shown that they can morph non-animals.

Animals are a taxon (one x) of terrestrial life.  They've morphed extraterrestrials that seem animal, true, but can't they just be a case of convergent evolution?

I'm pretty sure they weren't referring to animals in the sense of Taxonomy, but rather about life-forms that are capable of at least some form of consciousness. (As in, if you could morph a plant, how would you demorph?)

This brings up something interesting though. Sponges are of the Kingdom Animalia, yet they possess no nervous system. Or a digestive system. Or a circulatory system. Or anything else, really. Could someone morph one?

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2009, 04:23:41 PM »
The neverous system isn't a bad theory, but still I have to wonder if that's true. Haven't we had a few senerio's were they morph out after being KOed. There's still a brain running it yes, but it's not conscious.
That and during the morphing into something process doesn't the morphed things mind typically take a moment to make it's presence known; there should be no reason you couldn't go all the way in w/o keeping your mind on track.
Personally I've yet to see a reason that it can't work.
Supposedly it's about DNA and not much more. Useless as it may be, it still should be possible
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Offline wildweathel

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2009, 04:36:25 PM »
By my theory, sponges are a no-go.  They'd be no different from plants.

Actually, this is interestingly getting into what defines taxa.  Common features or common ancestors?  My understanding is that current biology is dominated by the common-ancestor definition (cladism).

Animorphs plays around with the idea of panspermia.  Elimist tasks the Pemalites with seeding planets with life.  If that's true, Andalites may have a common ancestor with Earth species.

But, I can't read it as Pemalites seeded plants and animals and fungi, basically an entire biosphere.  That doesn't make sense.  The Earth's biosphere changed a lot between the beginning of life and the emergence of even eukaryotes.  If we accept that theory, it's a seed.  One introduction of one simple species.

That means that no clade is shared between planets that does not include the entire planet.  There exists non-animal life on Earth, so there shouldn't be any animal life elsewhere--until interstellar travel starts stirring things up.

Or, unless the definition of animal is not common-ancestor.
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Offline estrid

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2009, 07:31:40 PM »
By my theory, sponges are a no-go.  They'd be no different from plants.

Actually, this is interestingly getting into what defines taxa.  Common features or common ancestors?  My understanding is that current biology is dominated by the common-ancestor definition (cladism).

Animorphs plays around with the idea of panspermia.  Elimist tasks the Pemalites with seeding planets with life.  If that's true, Andalites may have a common ancestor with Earth species.

But, I can't read it as Pemalites seeded plants and animals and fungi, basically an entire biosphere.  That doesn't make sense.  The Earth's biosphere changed a lot between the beginning of life and the emergence of even eukaryotes.  If we accept that theory, it's a seed.  One introduction of one simple species.

That means that no clade is shared between planets that does not include the entire planet.  There exists non-animal life on Earth, so there shouldn't be any animal life elsewhere--until interstellar travel starts stirring things up.

Or, unless the definition of animal is not common-ancestor.



sponges are actually considered animals. as odd as that seems. they have a very primitive nervous system and are multicellular, so technically, that makes them animals, in the kingdom animalia. So, technically, the animorphs should have been able to morph them.

they morph by acquiring DNA. DNA of plants and animals and bacteria and fungi are different. yes the basic components are the same. But, there must have been something more to it. it must have had more to do with the structure of the DNA, then just its components, as all DNA has the same four base pairs and phosphorous components and such. It could be they could only acquire DNA from multi cellular organisms, which would rule out bacteria. and then to make it animals only, well, then you get into what makes an animal different from a plant? what is it in the DNA that is making those two so distinctly different?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 07:33:32 PM by estrid »
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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2009, 10:44:55 PM »
The impression that I got throughout the book was that plants had simply too little in common with animals to be morphed (genetically). Also the animorphs would be able to morph jellyfish or even proifera if my theory is correct: the brian pilots a morph from Z-space; thus if it had an electrical nervous system then it could be controlled in morph.
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Offline wildweathel

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2009, 11:00:26 AM »
Estrid, I know sponges are animals.  My point is that they don't have neurons, even if they do have some of the genes required.

See this article
http://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2007/06/09/sea-sponges-have-the-makings-of-a-nervous-system/

But, if morphing is based on genetic similarity, why would plants be out but extraterrestrials in?  Humans should more similar to trees than to Andalites, assuming a single species of origin for terrestrial life.
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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2009, 09:51:50 PM »
weathel i dont think it has to do with neurons. it has to do with what it is that classifies and animal as an animal and a plant as a plant and so on. as extraterestrials they would meet the same criteria genetics wise and so on, which i think is why they could still morph the aliens
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Offline ThinkAgain

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2009, 10:43:57 PM »
Weathel, Andalites breathe our in atmosphere just fine. That means their cells undergo aerobic respiration, already making them more similar to us than we are to plants.

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Offline wildweathel

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Re: Plants, Bacteria and Morphing
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 02:37:11 PM »
1) Aerobic respiration is neither limited to animals, nor impossible for plants.  How else do seedlings metabolize oils before they develop leaves?  How do plants maintain homeostasis at night?  All eukaryotes, including plants, can reduce oxygen.

2) Convergent evolution happens.  Just because two populations share a feature doesn't mean they both derived it from a common ancestor.  This is true even of basic metabolic pathways.  C4 carbon-fixation has independently developed 40 times in Earth's natural history.

However, the exact genes responsible for C4 fixation vary from population to population.  Convergent evolution makes similar traits.  Not similar genes.

3) Genetic criteria are determined by the most recent common ancestor.  The only way that terrestrial animals' DNA can be closer to Andalites than it is to terrestrial plants is if animals (or a group containing animals but not plants, like the unikonts) were introduced to Earth--or if terrestrial animals were introduced to other planets.  But, if animals were introduced, why are they so similar to fungi? 

The only theory that agrees with terrestrial evolutionary history and a genetic criterion for morphability is that Earth is the home planet not only of terrestrial animals, but also of all morphable creatures.  In short, Andalites, Leerans, Howlers, even Yeerks can trace their ancestry back to Earth.  Extraterrestrial animals are morphable because they are animals. 

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