Talk:1569: Magic Tree
Explanation may benefit from adding that cell phone tower appearance has evolved to be more treelike. [Comet] 05:07, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
I know XKCD isn't really heavy on proportions, but the heads look slightly bigger in all but the last panel. It kinda makes both characters look like children initially. -Pennpenn 126.96.36.199 07:02, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
- It's not Batesian mimicry
Evolutionary biologist here: it's not Batesian mimicry. It's mimesis.
Archetypal mimesis is a stick insect looking like a twig, because predators don't care about twigs. It's the same thing here: trees looking like telegraph poles, because people don't care about telegraph poles.
It has nothing to do with the telegraph pole's defences (what would that mean?). Without defences, you can't have Batesian mimicry. 188.8.131.52 11:29, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Cell phone towers evolved to look like trees to defend themselves against people who would object to their presence on grounds of visual blight. http://www.wired.com/2013/03/dillon-marsh-invasive-species/ [Comet] 22:41, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
I think that cell towers do have defenses. When you wound them, they start emiting utility workers, policemans and lawyers. (I'm sure the operator will get message if BTS is disconnected.) -- Hkmaly (talk) 12:49, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
At the time of this comic, there was a website devoted to cell towers that were camouflaged to look like trees. The site was FraudFrond.com and had several euphemisms for them. Fake firs, sham shrubs, bogus botanicals, and my favorite, counterfeit conifers.
I don't if it is relevant but there is an old MSX game called magical tree that displayed the tree in side view in a very similar way. http://www.mobygames.com/game/msx/magical-tree ZeroA4 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- That is a striking resemblance and an identical name. Makes me wonder if it was an inspiration. 220.127.116.11 05:36, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
The third paragraph needs amending. "...attempt to mimic cellphone towers" implies conscious evolution, and the reference to the tower's "defenses" is a relic of the Batesian mimicry reference. What I'm guessing is happening (I'm not an evolutionary biologist) is that trees with a slightly more towerlike appearance are slightly less likely to be cut down by predatory Beret Guys, and will survive to pass similar traits onto their offspring, and over millions of years certain lineages of celltowertrees will increasingly resemble treecelltowers built by humans in turn to resemble them. The claim that this is a "standard textbook example of convergent evolution" is tongue-in-cheek more than facetious; a real example of it ought to be used rather than the Terry Pratchett reference, which seems to illustrate conscious evolution.18.104.22.168 17:00, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
- Original transcript
Randall's original transcript (no changes by me) is this:
- [Beret guy excitedly points to a pillar about a meter across. There's a sign on the side. Beret guy is pointing it out to his friend, Fancy Haircut]
- Beret: Check it out! I threw my magic beans on the ground here yesterday, and this big tree appeared!
- [Now in silhouette we see the pillar is several hundred feet tall, covered in antennae, and the figures are as ants in its shadow.]
- haircut: that's a cell tower.
- beret: no way-- it has branches! See? I'm gonna climb it!
- [Beret guy begins to shimmy up the side of the pole. Somehow. With impressively powerful thighs I guess.]
- haircut: No, they just put those there to make it look-- ...never mind.
- haircut: Why do I have no signal?
- beret, with an axe: there were scary giants with yellow helmets in that tree! luckily, I cut it down before they ate me.