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The Ecuadorian Walking Palm Tree

A tree named Socratea exorrhiza is better known as the Ecuadorian walking palm tree. It can “walk” up to a couple of centimeters per day. Palaeobiologist Peter Vrsansky spent months with threes to see how they move.

“As the soil erodes, the tree grows new, long roots that find new and more solid ground, sometimes up to 20m,” said Vrsansky. “Then, slowly, as the roots settle in the new soil and the tree bends patiently toward the new roots, the old roots slowly lift into the air. The whole process for the tree to relocate to a new place with better sunlight and more solid ground can take a couple of years.”

The tree’s actions sound like it could have inspired the Ents of The Lord of the Rings. However, the walking trees live in an area of Ecuador that is being sold off to locals who cut down trees to establish their right to live there. Under the same program, Vrsansky has managed to buy several hundred hectares to set aside as a refuge. Read more about the walking palm trees and other species of Ecuadorian wildlife at the BBC. -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Hans Hillewaert)

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