Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2114
Turnbull, L A; Santamaria, L; Martorell, T; Rallo, J; Hector, A (2006). Seed size variability: from carob to carats. Biology Letters, 2(3):397-400.
The seeds of various plants were used as weights because their mass reputedly varies so little. Carob (Ceratonia siliqua), which has given its name to the carat, is particularly famous in this regard. But are carob seeds unusually constant in weight and, if not, how did the myth arise? The variability of seeds sampled from a collection of carob trees (CV=23%) was close to the average of 63 species reviewed from the literature (CV=25%). However, in a perception experiment observers could discriminate differences in carob seed weight of around 5% by eye demonstrating the potential for humans to greatly reduce natural variation. Interestingly, the variability of pre-metrication carat weight standards is also around 5% suggesting that human rather than natural selection gave rise to the carob myth.
|Item Type:||Journal Article, refereed, original work|
|Communities & Collections:||07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies|
|DDC:||570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||seed size, trait variability, carob, Ceratonia siliqua|
|Deposited On:||11 Feb 2008 12:28|
|Last Modified:||27 Nov 2013 16:56|
|Publisher:||The Royal Society|
|Additional Information:||Free full text article|
|Citations:||Web of Science®. Times Cited: 6|
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