A Reddit user posted a photo of an interesting flower in the subreddit NatureIsFuckingLit. This flower species has people looking twice, because at first glance, it looks like a group of hummingbirds.
It’s called Crotalaria cunninghamii, and it…well.
It’s nothing short of stunning.
The plant is native to Australia, where the user snapped this photo.
Obviously, people had questions. Did this plant evolve to look like a bunch of hummingbirds on purpose? If so, why? Or is this just a case of humans projecting faces and shapes onto things?
Because Reddit is magical, an ecologist soon popped in to explain everything about how the flower works.
First of all, hummingbirds don’t even live in Australia, where this plant is from. So, it’s unlikely that this plant evolved to look like one. Also, looking like a hummingbird to humans doesn’t seem to pose any benefit to the plant.
“The fact that the flower looks like a bird to humans cannot have evolved adaptively because as a signal receiver, there is nothing humans could have done to increase the fitness of individuals that evolved this signal (to look like a bird),” the scientist explained.
They also pointed out that this flower looks less like a bird from other angles.
And it likely doesn’t look like a bird to non-humans at all.
So, this is really just a neat accident of nature — but that doesn’t make it any less gorgeous and fascinating!