Convergence

The organism on the left is a Green Urchin with the cumbersome name of Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis. The image on the right shows the seed-pod of a European Chestnut, Castanea sativa. I have always been struck by their outward similarities. Several evenings ago we noticed that the deer were mingling beneath the chestnuts as they made their way between pasture and woods. Because I know that deer enjoy chestnuts every bit as much as we do I thought I’d better check the trees because I didn’t want the deer making off with the entire crop. Sure enough, the next day when I checked, I found nuts, empty seed-pods, and full pods scattered on the ground. I got myself a stout pair of gloves (like urchin spines those of the chestnut seed-pod are notorious for their ability to penetrate the skin) and proceeded to gather a gallon of nuts. Into the freezer they went to halt the development of weevil larvae if they were present. These delicious nuts will be used to make roast goose stuffing come holiday season. You may be aware that the gonads of both male and female urchins are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Having eaten both urchin roe and chestnuts I can report that, in the opinion of my entirely uneducated palate, the latter are superior (in every possible way) to the former.

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