Shaggy gardeners


Tour to Neocene


2. Shaggy gardeners



In the world richly populated by the diverse lifeforms, the main importance for alive creatures is got with the most different forms of cooperation: from frank parasitism to mutually advantageous symbiosis. And all of them are directed on one purpose: to help to survive in the complex and changeable world. Not only animals, but also plants develop such connections. And for one Neocaenic tree species of the African savanna this cooperation appeared very favourable one.
The sugar tree grows in small groups or alone on plains of Africa in very mild climate conditions. The dry season lasts not for long and the tree experiences it easily due to the big stocks of water in a thick trunk and the long roots penetrating into deep water-bearing horizons. But not only because of it its crone is much to a thicket, than crones of other trees.
Many Neocaenic savanna trees have an enemy: a huge bird, the giraffe ostrich. Family groups of these giants wander on a savanna, browsing even the most prickly branches by means of strong beak tolerant to thorn pricks. Birds search on the ground and swallow cobble-stones in weight up to 500 grammes: it allows them to fray rigid and fibrous leaves of some savanna palms. And the sugar tree favourably differs from other vegetation that its large leaves have pleasant sweetish taste.
One of feathered giants approaches to a thick crone of a tree hoping to be sated with juicy sweet leaves. The huge bird tears off large leaves and swallows it entirely. Its activity forces even large branches to be shaken. The giant ostrich pulls leaves making efforts, not guessing, that it submits a signal to protection of a tree.
Among branches of a tree red and black-and-white lumps of fur flash, shrill chirring is heard. And soon on a branch eaten by an ostrich an avant guarde of defenders of a tree appears: there are two red squirrels with striped tails. They are garden squirrels - inhabitants and security guards of a sugar tree. All new and new small mammals gradually arrive, and soon the branches nearest to an ostrich's head appear entirely covered with loudly chirring small mammals. The skilled ostrich for a long time would depart aside, but unfortunately the disturber of the squirrel calmness is inexperienced one and it still never faced with these small mammals. The bird continues the meal, having torn off large leaves. And hereby it becomes casus beli.
One of garden squirrels jumps on a head of a gigantic bird, after it the following pair jumps. Squirrels start to bite almost featherless skin of an ostrich head. The huge bird, able to desert adult deadlynetta to the tree by strong kick, appears defenceless before such small opponents. The feathered giant shakes a head, is stirred up by all body, but it is vain: almost ten squirrels run on its head and a back, ruthlessly biting under accompaniment of loud chirring of the squirrel colony. The scared giraffe ostrich runs off aside a tree, and attack instantly stops. Having noticed, that the bird departs from a native tree, squirrels jump off from a giant on bushes and on the ground, hastening in the house. The giraffe ostrich has received a good lesson: its neck and a head are doted with bruises. Not soon it will forget taste of leaves of a sugar tree, but it will remember even longer, that such tasty thing is never giving for free.
Garden squirrels hasten on the tree. There, at top, in the big forked crown of branches there is the large collective dray containing of some tens of individual "apartments", occupied with a pair of squirrels, and some barchelor "rooms" on edges of a colony. The dray is constructed from rods and stalks of grasses. On a roof of a dray there are planted real "gardens" of epiphytic plants. It also has determined the name of small mammals.
Epiphytes are rarity in a dry savanna. Therefore garden squirrels are started up on searches of new plants enough frequently. «Hunters for plants» are very cautious: they are hidden in a grass and try as it is possible to be shown on eyes less often. Far from a colony their boldness at times passing ton impudence, is lost immediately The “hunter for plants” promptly climbs up a tree in which branches the desired plant is noticed. Having run up to the necessary plant, the squirrel tries to tear off from it a part suitable on the size: a piece of a thricket or a part of a stalk. When it works well, the small mammal accurately goes down and quickly runs to a native tree, holding a desired burden in a teeth. In a crone of a house tree the squirrel with a plant quickly rises in a dray and attaches on an empty place a new ornament of a roof. Other squirrels browse perishing parts of plants, move off dry leaves and support in cleanliness a garden on a house roof. It gives the big advantages to garden squirrels. Plants perfectly mask the dray from air predators, cover friable drays from a rain, and after the rain roots soak up from walls of dray water together with dung of small mammals, helping thus to support cleanliness in dwelling.
Also the sugar tree is subject of squirrel care. For the sake of moving convenience squirrels bite off a part of branches which make a crone very thick. The retained branches grow much better because of it. Squirrels struggle with vermin insects. To tell the truth, it not end in itself, and probably it is a by-effect of squirrel life: they satisfy so needs for protein food. Especially squirrels like large capricorn beetles and their fat larvae. As well they eat mushrooms plentifully growing in trunk hollows of a sugar tree. The basic food of squirrels leaves and fruits of a sugar tree serve for: it’s a real «sweet life»!
But insects can be a source of sweet food too. Colonies of plant lice settle on soft young sprouts of a sugar tree. These delicate insects breed fast, but they have many enemies, including garden squirrels. Surveying branches of a tree, the squirrel will come across a colony of plant lice. Having seized back paws in a branch, it drags a tip of the branch which have been stuck round by plant lice to herself by forward paws, and licks off these insects with pleasure.
Due to cares of a colony of squirrels the sugar tree will flower plentifully and expands magnificently. Its crone is both a table, and the house for little sociable rodents.
But not only squirrels live by groups. The survival in group is favourable, though thus somehow it is necessary to divide interests on both group. And some other animals have survived during mass extinction of a Holocene due to complex and variable group behaviour.
High grasses and bush thickets of a savanna give a shelter to one of the most dangerous animal of a savanna. Even saber-toothed deadlynetta not always ventures to rise for a way of these animals. Loud shouts, squeal and a hoot warn animals of savanna of approach of pack of furiobaboons - carnivorous primates. These wiry strong creatures have uncommon courage and an ingenuity. They are omnivorous, but like to food meat and are able to get it by different ways. In a drought they visit little ponds and catch fishes and frogs in a dirty water, break tortoise shells by stones. And furiobaboons get such fast prey as little birds and lizards, throwing handfuls of small stones in it. One stone necessarily finds the victim. These predatory monkeys tear apart a carcass of a dead herbivore or prey won over at a predator by long canines.
The hierarchy in group of baboons is very rigid, the weakened animal easily can slide downwards on a ladder of a domination. But the adult tyrant male keeps up that the share was received even with the lowest members of clan – by this way he tries to get support of all members of group. The cubs are especially loved by the tyrant. At a sharing of carcass of dead harelope or young flathorn he keeps up, that kids received the share. At times he can take away meat from especially greedy neighbour and to give it immediately to hungry kid. To tell the truth, becoming the youngster, the young baboon starts to receive hits and kicks from the leader instead of meal: the childhood was ended, it is time to live adult life. And at the leader there are new favourites whom he teaches and preserves.
Furiobaboons are inventive and they skilfully use objects in their everyday life. The monkey, learned to use a new object, or discovered a new way of food getting, highly rises in hierarchy. Different clans own different "know-how", transferring it from generation to generation. And one of clans has in a collective collection of experience way to prey tasty delicate meat of the garden squirrel, and it is rather easy.
The male «nr. 2» in hierarchy of a clan tries the taste of tree leaves and examines the ground in searches of traces of stay of squirrels. At last he finds that searched - sweetish leaves and little pieces of dung in big heaps. A silent hoot he informs group about a find. Baboons, trying to not rustle, look for a dray of squirrels on one of tree tops. It is easy for noticing from the ground if to know, where to search. Having remembered a place, baboons leave it to return later.
On the far river shallow they search for small-sized stones. Having collected on a cupped hand of stones, they come clumsy gait on hinder legs nearer to the bushes growing near to a noticed tree. There they dump stones in a little heap. And the male «nr. 2» finds a long branch and peels from it almost all leaves, having left a bunch on a top. He knows how to entice squirrels from the dray.
There evening comes, the sun is setting. Hunting baboons take a position behind bushes. The male «nr. 2» silently comes nearer to a tree; then he is hidden under a thick branch, hooks it by prepared rod and starts to pull foliage. The result does not keep itself waiting - about twenty of small tree defenders jump on a branch with furious chirring. However they do not see the enemy... And before they have time to think something, the hail of stones and sticks flies to them. Some squirrels the same moment fall in a dead faint, and to ones trying to escape, the new portion of stones flies. The baboon male under a tree continues to pull a branch, causing new groups of defenders. One of saved squirrels utters sharp whistle - an alarm signal, but here it is forced down with neatly thrown stone. Result of an attack is one and a half tens of killed squirrels. Baboons gather dead squirrels but when one of young males tries to have eaten one squirrel body, the dominating male gives him a strong punch, accompanying it with indignant hoot.
Night in a colony of squirrels passes very restlessly. Small mammals sniff at air and listen, expecting the disappeared neighbours, but some of their neighbours already never will return to drays.
In the morning baboons undertake attack on the squirrel colony again. Stones still remained in bushes, and since morning it would be desirable to eat very much: not all baboons managed the squirrel bodies. And whether can tiny small mammal sate the large voracious monkey? Attack on squirrels is undertaken by teenagers who managed all pair squirrels for all. They silently creep to a tree of squirrels. Some of them have armed with sticks though to use them plainly are not able yet. One of the elder youngsters pokes a branch of a tree by long stick, hoping to entice squirrels. But in branches only one sentry squirrel flashes. It perfectly sees attacking baboon youngsters, utters loud whistling, evades from ineptly thrown stick and disappears in foliage. Skilled baboons would return only some days later when squirrels will forget about them. But young ones still to study a long time.
Young baboons do not know, that there are somebody who can attack them. Grew in herd, they have got used to be cautious only then when grown-ups warn. And one young baboon is threatened with danger. In searches of a good stone he has departed far companions, and it did not remain unnoticed. The barbed herzogcat, the magnificent long-maned male, watches the young monkey from a high grass. He perfectly sees the careless cub, and when the teenager bends down to pick a stone off the ground, the cat makes silent and exact throw. No sound was uttered by the young baboon when sharp canines have bitten through his nape and neck.
Similar, other young baboons are very much occupied with hunting for squirrels and they were not disturbed with disappearance of one of them. However the wind wafts to them an unfamiliar smell. The cry of surprise of one youngster compels others to end useless occupation and to be straightened. The big group of huge gorillada monkeys comes nearer to sugar trees. The large long-maned male goes ahead, at some distance from him there are going teenagers and females with cubs. Young baboons had never seen gorilladas: these monkeys live in foothills and go down on plains only during fruit ripening, including fruits of a sugar tree. One of the most courageous teenagers tries to make that successfully was possible to his daddy, the leader of herd. He loudly squeals and throws a stone in the teenager of the gorillada. The stone has hit the mark, and the young gorillada female has plaintively moaned, having seized by an injuried shoulder. The male, leader of family of gorilladas rises on hinder legs, rolls up an upper lip on a flat nose, exposing shining pink gums with a large white teeth, and roars by full voice. Young baboons quickly understand, who is mainer, and hastily leave a battlefield.
Gorilladas, despite of distant relationship with furiobaboons are herbivorous monkeys. Usually they eat foliage of mountain trees, bushes and grasses, but they willingly regale themselves with fruits and they perfectly know terms of their ripening.
The group of gorilladas will spend some days in a grove of sugar trees. They enjoy abundance of fruits, but in this season the crop is so great, that it is a lot of fruits still not to have eaten. And then one of savanna holidays begins.
The sugar tree involves monkeys with one feature which has ruined thousands of other primates, people, for 25 million years up to this time. Fruits of a sugar tree are so rich by sugars, that at times they start to ferment right on a tree. And fruits plop down already "ripened", rich by alcohol. Having to have eaten a lot of them, the herbivore can get drunk strongly. And this condition is pleasant to gorilladas not less, than in the past to people. They find fermented fruits and devour it in plenty. Stomaches of these monkeys turn to fermenting tubs, poor primates are tormented with an eructation. But that you will not endure for the sake of pleasure, let so doubtful!
Having to had eaten fair quantity of fruits, gorilladas have a rest, having rested to a tree trunk. Youngsters clumsily frisk and somersault in a grass, and the large dominant snores under beams of the sun in a grass. Not far huge deadlynetta plaits unsteady gait. But now it does not justify the famous name: the holiday of a Neocaenic Bacchus has not bypassed also it. Lacklustre eyes and shaky gait show a huge predator as the big sugar tree fruit eater. From under legs of the genette the bird flies up, and disappears in a grass by intricate zigzags. The holiday has touched all savanna inhabitants. It is good, that such crops happen not each year, and “drunk fruits” quickly decay, saving savanna animals from deep drunkenness.
Presence of gorilladas does not disturb garden squirrels. Their colony heals the wounds put by collision with furiobaboons. While gorilladas have a rest in a grove of sugar trees, baboons will not appear in their presence. For some days pair of young squirrels has stuck to a colony from another grove. Teenagers of these species, males and females, leave a colony where their parents live. They can found a new colony or join to already existing one. Newcomers are accepted, as they show to natives of a colony gestures of submission: draw in bright striped tails. Squirrels from a colony sniff at newcomers; thus their tails are pulled upwards and kept in compliance with a rank - the mainer squirrel has above lifted tail.
It is allowed to newcomers to live in a colony as from a meeting with baboons some adult and young animals were lost. In other time they would been expelled away.
Gorilladas are a guaranty of that nobody will attack a colony of squirrels from the ground. But there is also other danger: predatory birds which come from above. At top of the dray in thickets of plants some sentries, strong old squirrels, constantly are on duty. They are insufficiently quick and strong to protect a tree from land herbivores, but their sight allows distinguishing feathered predators. They inform about danger by the same shrill whistling.
It is the midday; the sun ruthlessly shines from African heavens. Squirrels are hidden from heat in the dray or under big leaves of a sugar tree. And sentries are languid with the heat on the full blaze of the sun. One by one they are sleepy. And last sentry falls asleep in a shadow of leaves of orchids. But vainly they were fallen to rest: feathered predators are near. And they are not eagles or hawks hunting alone. They are parrots - clever collective predators.
The African griffarrot has mastered an injurious kind of life rather recently. Schools of these fast green birds with naked grey faces earn their living by carrion, gnawing the rests of large predator’s prey. A mighty parrot’s beak crushes even thick bones, reaching up to a marrow. And still such beaks approach for ruin of the garden squirrel’s dray. Flying above the savanna, the flock of birds utters the loud unpleasant shouts similar to a crow croak. And this shout wakes fallen into a light sleep the sentry squirrel. Shrill whistling was late: birds have seen motley small mammals as soon as they were moved. And the flock of large green parrots starts to hover above the dray of squirrels. Many squirrels are hidden in foliage, hoping, that birds will not notice them. But griffarrots are interested with contents of the dray - squirrel cubs.
As if on command the flock of birds falls on a dray and starts to crush it with beaks. Birds tear off plants, break and gnaw branches from which the dray is plaited. And predators have reached dray chambers. The peep of cubs, pulling out by birds, stimulates several squirrels to rush to attack on feathered robbers: the parent instinct overcomes an instinct of self-preservation. Seizing in a feathering of winged pillagers, squirrels tear feathers and try to bite parrots. But parrots have advantage over squirrels: they can attack from air. Flying up, birds beat squirrels a beak on a head. One of parrots hunts on a pair with the female: while the male attacks the squirrel from air, the female rushes on a rodent sideways and has a bite a backbone of the squirrel. Pair of parrots departs, the male holds in a beak a body of the squirrel – it is enough for them. Gradually one by one birds depart: squirrels resist strongly, and with each departed parrot the boldness of squirrels increases. And already last parrot tries to get away, but it has turned to a victim from a predator: squirrels have seized it and have bitten to death.
Under a sugar tree the gorillada male sleeps. The green fluffy feather falls from above on his nose, forcing the mighty monkey to sneeze loudly.
On a tree half kilometer far from squirrel colony griffarrots are arranged on rest. Family pairs clean a feathering each other, and one of pairs eats a body of the killed squirrel. The female presses the body by paw against the branch, and they pinch off slices of meat together. During the meal other bird, raising crest, snarls at neighbours, trying to snatch the share of meat.
As against garden squirrels, griffarrots have wish to living place changing out of nesting season. Flocks of these birds migrate on a savanna in searches of prey. Occasionally they visit the wide river flowing on a savanna where there was the Sahara desert in historical time. This river is the Nile of human epoque which have come back to the old channel. And around of this river there is a unique world of live beings.


Garden squirrel (Sciurus decorator)
Order: Rodents (Rodentia)
Family: Sciuridae

Picture by Arseny Zolotnikov

The squirrel can be named hereby to “living fossils”: genus Sciurus exists from Oligocene in practically modern station. The unique circumstance prevents to make it: a wide living area and the big variety of modern squirrel species. It is possible, that any representatives of family Sciuridae could survive during mass extinction and evolve to new species of Neocene epoch.
The garden squirrel does not exceed the common red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in size. It is coloured brightly: an orange head and a body, black ears and a longitudinal strip on a back, a white belly, a long black-and-white striped tail (it is similar to a tail of lemur (Lemur catta)). With the help of tail position the squirrel communicates and submits each other signals. A voice is chirring, at danger - sharp whistling (as at gophers).
The garden squirrel is one of numerous species of the African Neocaenic squirrels. It lives by big colonies on trees with edible foliage and fruits, obviously preferring a sugar tree because of sweetish taste of its foliage and plentiful, though also seasonal fruiting. Squirrels live in colonies at top of a rendered habitable by them tree where they build a huge collective dray. The top part of such dray is masked by plenty of epiphytic plants, which squirrels drag from the near trees and stick in a roof of a dray. Plants quickly get accustomed, as their roots will penetrate into drays of squirrels and receive secretions of these rodents as a source of additional mineral feed. The colony consists of main pair, set of the subordinated pairs (without rigid hierarchy between them) and the numerous young bachelors who have arrived from other colonies. Own cubs (3 packs for one year, 7 - 9 cubs in a pack) grow quickly and shortly young males are expelled from a colony and lead lonely life some time. At this time the significant part of them perishes. Becoming enough adult, young animals join already existing colonies and form pairs inside them.
Squirrels look after a rendered habitable tree: they gather vermin insects (which simultaneously are used as "meat" part of feeding) and settling epiphytic plants from branches, gnaw out dry branches and too long sprouts. The young tree at first time is only visited by animals from the near large colony, and when the tree grows up, the own constant colony of squirrels is formed on its top.
Active squirrel protection of a tree from large herbivores is original: as soon as animals will feel presence of herbivores (usually on a smell and a stir of branches), the part of a colony runs to protection of a tree. Squirrels run on the branches nearest to "calm ruffler" and start to shout loudly. If it does not help, some of squirrels bite a herbivore in a muzzle and lips, and the most courageous ones jump on a head of an animal and bite its skin. When the stranger departs from a tree, squirrels quickly jump on a branch and come back in a colony.

Furiobaboon (Feropapio furiosus)
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae

Picture by Eugeny Hontor

Initial version of the image - picture by Pavel Volkov

In case of mass extinction of species the majority of primates is doomed for disappearance: places of their inhabiting - tropical woods - are one of the most vulnerable biotopes on land. But primates live not only in woods. The small amount of species of primates has develop new places of an inhabiting – savannas and mountains. Some macaques, guenons, baboons and geladas are those species. In case of global ecological accident they have chance of a survival: the probability of expansion of open inhabiting places is great due to disappearance of woods at a climat drying.
The furiobaboon is one of few primates of a Neocene, the descendant of the modern baboon (Papio cynocephalus). Adapted to life on open places, these species successfully exist in savanna. The animal mounts to weight of 40 kg (males) or 30 kg (females), lives by family groups on 10 - 20 animals. Externally the furiobaboon is similar to baboons known presently, but it differs from them by the short tail and bright sciatic callice - dark blue color with a white border. The animal quickly runs on four paws on short distances and reluctantly swarms up trees. The general colour of a body is sandy - yellow, at males the big grey mane is present. Than jaws of the furiobaboon are shorter, than at modern baboons, but they are much stronger, teeth are more similar to teeth of a predator, rather than the primate, canines are long, at males canines of the top jaw jut out from the closed mouth. Its diet has undergone significant changes: the furiobaboon is omnivorous with a strongly pronounced bias to predating. Small and medium-sized animals contain the most part of its diet. Monkey can eat a carrion, going at a large carcass with tens of ones. Frequently group of furiobaboons is organized hunts on large prey. Thus sticks and stones can be applied by them. By sticks and stones monkeys are beaten off from predators, frequently hammering in them to death. The young growth studies a long time in receptions of hunting. Different flights use the different methods of hunting transmitted by training from grown-ups to younger.
This animal species is aggressive, inside family groups there is a tough hierarchy.
There is bearing only one cub, it depends on mother long time. Youngsters study to get food, imitating adults. As a rule, all cubs of a clan are children of the dominant male.

Gorillada (Neotheropithecus giganteus)
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae

One more species of monkeys, whose ancestors have survived at the time of mass extinction. It is the descendant of the modern monkey gelada (Theropithecus gelada), the inhabitant of mountain meadows of Africa. Strongly having increased in size (the adult male weighs up to 250 kg, the female - up to 150 kg, growth of the male on hinder legs is up to 2 meters), this primate is the strictly vegetarian. A constitution is reminding the gorilla’s one: hands are long, a back is inclined. A tail is very short, only magnificent hairy brush of hair is appreciable outside. On a breast there is a bright red spot around of which the strip of white wool is appreciable. The face is hairless, rose-red color. Jaws are short and wide, teeth are powerful, canines are only a little longer than incisors. Color of wool is pitch-black, males have the ash-grey mane similar on lion's, cubs are grey, later they become darken. Gorilladas lives in warm light forests and on well warmed up slopes of mountains, keeps by herds on 30 - 40 individuals, consisting of several family groups under the leading the male. Eats tubers and bulbs, leaves and seeds of graminoids. Occasionally, some herds pass in a savanna to the moment of plentiful fruiting of trees, but after the ending of tree fruiting they come back to mountains.

Griffarrot (Carnopsittacus ferox)
Order: Parrots (Psittaciformes)
Family: Psittacidae

The majority of parrots are wood birds and vegetarians, but not all ones are. Among modern parrots there are both plain species and carnivorous ones. So, in captivity many species of parrots willingly eat food of animal origin - meat and bacon, larvae of insects. The data approving that scare the nestor, or the kea (Nestor meridionalis) kills sheeps are inconsistent, however these parrots willingly ate corpses of dead sheeps.
Parrots mostly nest in tree-trunk hollows, but there are the species nesting on the ground, in holes, either biulding collective covered nests of branches and brushwood.
These circumstances allow to purpose the griffarrot one of probable inhabitants of Neocene savanna. To tell the truth, for this purpose it should be exception of too big number of "rules" of order Psittaciformes, but at change of an environment and extinction of "rules" (i. e. the majority of wood parrots) it is quite probable. In Neocene New-Zealandian descendant of kea parrot had became true bird of prey in ecosystem of these islands.
The griffarrot is large (weight up to 1,5 kg, wingspan up to 1,7 m, length of a body including tail up to 60 cm) a schooling bird. It lives in savannas and light forests by flocks up to 100 birds and more. The feathering of the male and the female does not differ with color, birds of both sexes are coloured in green with white feathers under wings (these spots are visible in flight), a tail is red. On sides of a head (from a beak up to an ear aperture), a throat and the top part of a breast there are no feathers, a skin is grey, around of eyes there is a dark blue ring. On a crown and a nape feathers are longer, than on a neck, forming the special kind of "crest" expressing an emotional condition of a bird. A beak is black with a narrow vertical white strip. The voice reminds a gnash and a scratch.
Parrots eat almost strictly food of an animal origin: dig insect larvae out of the ground, prey small vertebrates? attack little animals and birds, ravage bird nests. The powerful beak allows birds to crack even shells of little tortoises. Frequently they look for a carrion or prey of large savanna predators. Willingly eat semi-decomposed meat, gnaw cartilages and crush bones searching marrow.
This species nests by groups in river precipices, dig out long holes (up to 2 meters of length, width up to 30 cm) by a beak and paws. It clutch there are 2 or 3 large eggs. At an attack of predator theses birds defend themselves by the whole flock, striking powerful impacts by wings and beaks.


Sugar tree (Adansonia saccarisissima)
Order: Malvales
Family: Bombacaceae

Large tree of a savanna (grows up to height of 20 and more meters) with a thick trunk, the relative of a baobab. A crone is sprawling, umbrella-like, width up to 25 - 30 m., top is truncated (sometimes it is gnawed by garden squirrels for construction of the dray). A bark at the basis of a trunk is wrinkled, on branches smooth, yellowish - grey color. Leaves are simple, palmately-parted, leafstalk is up to 30 cm long, leaf is up to 40 cm in diameter. Roots are well developed, they reach water-bearing layers of ground that allows a tree to keep foliage even in a dry season.
The plant is very rich in sugars, they are synthesized in such amount, what even the foliage of a tree has obvious sweetish taste. This adaptation was developed as a result of long symbiosis of sugar tree ancestors and the tree rodents were carrying their fruits and dwelt on their crones. Flowers are large, single, they flower in a dry season. Every flower opens only to some hours at night. Flowers are pollinated by mothes, but squirrels like to regale itself with a nectar and also take part in pollination. Fruits of a sugar tree also are rich in sugars. They are large (up to 2 kg) with juicy friable pulp. Seeds are carrying by birds and herbivores. At a plentiful crop the part of fruits starts to ferment on a tree and accumulates fair amount of alcohol. Animals, having to had eaten some such fruits of a sugar tree, get drunk.
The tree fruits seasonally, it is usual shortly before a season of rains. It allows to involve with juicy fruits of possible seed carriers (birds and animals), and also it is dated with germination of seeds in the beginning of a rain season. The young tree has no sweet taste of leaves and dumps them on a dry season. Only to 10 - 15 years, having got stronger, the tree starts to produce sugar. For the first time tree begins to blossom at the age of 20 years, lives up to 400 - 500 years.


Main page of the project