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Contact: Lee Siegel
University of Utah
Caption: A spiny mouse from Israel's Negev Desert starts eating berries from the shrub Ochradenus baccatus (upper left). It soon spits seeds into its paws (upper right) and onto the ground (lower right and lower left). If the seeds were chewed at the same time as the fruit pulp, toxic chemicals would be released. So the plant has effectively turned the mouse from a seed-eater into a seed-spreader to help the plant reproduce, according to a new study from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, University of Utah and other institutions.
Credit: Michal Samuni-Blank, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
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Related news release: Ptooey!