Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Greg Jordan, Associate Professor, University of Tasmania

This is an article from Curious Kids, a series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky!

Where did the trees come from? - Grace, age 6, West Pymble.

Excellent question. It’s so good that we have to answer it in three parts.

Where did trees come from? Zzzz. Matilda Brown

The first part of the answer is that trees come from other trees!

Each tree starts as a dormant seed. That’s a fancy way of saying that the seed was asleep.

The seed starts to grow after it gets wet. It then can grow into a tree. If you want to know how this happens you can look at this article.

Where did trees come from? Huh, what happened? Matilda Brown

Trees make seeds, which can then grow into other trees. So each tree has a mother and a father, and the seeds are their babies.

Every seed is different

The second part of the answer is that not all seeds grow into trees. Some seeds grow into trees and other seeds grow into other kinds of plants. That’s because different kinds of plants make different kinds of seeds. The seeds of daisies can only grow into daisies, and the seeds of pine trees can only grow into new pine trees.

This is all because of an amazing chemical called DNA. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, but everyone just calls it DNA.

Read more: Explainer: Theory of evolution

DNA is like a set of instructions that tells the seed how to grow and what kind of plant to grow into. Every person, every plant, and every animal has its own DNA that is just a little bit different from the DNA of any other plant or animal. That means that DNA gives every person, every animal, and every plant their own special instructions.

When a tree makes a seed, it does a something really important. It puts some DNA into the seed. That DNA is almost the same as the DNA of the mother and father trees. That means that the seed will grow up into a tree of the same type as its mother and father.

Where did the first trees come from?

Each plant or animal has slightly different DNA from its parents. This is where we come to the third part of the answer: over long periods of time plants and animals can change, they evolve.

This might happen, for example, by a small plant making seeds with DNA that has instructions for growing bigger plants. Then those bigger plants do well and make more seeds. Some of these seeds have DNA with instructions for even bigger plants. This happens many times and eventually you can have big trees.

The very first plants on land were tiny. This was a very long time ago, about 470 million years ago. Then around 350 million years ago, many different kinds of small plants started evolving into trees. These made the first great forests of the world.

Where did trees come from? This is a drawing of what one of the first forests looked like. The trees are very different from most of the trees in our forests. Wikimedia

Since then, many different kinds of plants have evolved into trees. Here are some of them.

This is a giant sequoia - the biggest living thing on Earth. It is a type of tree called a conifer. Look how tall it is!

Where did trees come from? A giant sequoia. Greg Jordan

This one below is a tree fern. Most ferns are small, but some have evolved to become trees.

Where did trees come from? A tree fern. Greg Jordan

There are two very different kinds of trees in this next picture below. The two slender trees at the front are Kingia, which is a strange relative of palm trees. It lives in Western Australia. There are gum trees in the background as well.

Where did trees come from? Kingia and gum trees. Greg Jordan

We are so glad you are interested in trees. We really need to look after our trees because they help make clean air for us to breathe. Without trees, humans would be in a lot of trouble.

Hello, curious kids! Have you got a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to us. They can:

* Email your question to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au * Tell us on Twitter by tagging @ConversationEDU with the hashtag #curiouskids, or * Tell us on Facebook

Where did trees come from? CC BY-ND Please tell us your name, age, and which city you live in. You can send an audio recording of your question too, if you want. Send as many questions as you like! We won’t be able to answer every question but we will do our best.

Authors: Greg Jordan, Associate Professor, University of Tasmania

Read more http://theconversation.com/curious-kids-where-did-trees-come-from-92518

Writers Wanted

Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been released. But will a prisoner swap with Australia encourage more hostage-taking by Iran?


Ancient Earth had a thick, toxic atmosphere like Venus – until it cooled off and became liveable


Not just hot air: turning Sydney's wastewater into green gas could be a climate boon


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

Buy Instagram Followers And Likes Now

Do you like to buy followers on Instagram? Just give a simple Google search on the internet, and there will be an abounding of seeking outcomes full of businesses offering such services. But, th...

News Co - avatar News Co

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion