Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Pareidolia in the lunchbox

The term Pareidolia refers to how we think we see a shape in a random pattern: a cloud looks like an animal, or a slice of toast has an image of Jesus.

This kiwifruit was in my lunchbox today.

Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa; never call it kiwi) is a fruit formed from a compound ovary, with many individual carpels.  In this fruit, it looks like one carpel didn't develop.  By remaining small and empty of pulp and seeds, it held the fruit's wall close to the central core, while the other carpels grew and swelled around it.

In this cross section you can see the walls of the individual carpels, 31 of them by my count.

Sometimes, when things go wrong with development, it helps us understand the processes that are normal.

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