The avocado, that green, slimy, deliciously fatty fruit, the one chiefly responsible for bringing guacamole to humanity—and in recent years earning the rare and elusive title of a super food—is a botanical anomaly that shouldn’t exist. It should have disappeared long ago.
Avocados come from an era before humans, when gomphothere, large elephant-like creatures that lived two million years ago, walked the earth and ate the fruits by the dozen. Avocados, like any other plant, grew with the ambition of spreading seeds and avocado seeds could only be eaten—and later pooped out—by large animals with big enough throats. When gomphothere went extinct, avocados lost their chief consumer. Yet, as Connie Barlow wrote in her 2002 book The Ghosts of Evolution, avocados somehow remained clueless that the animal had disappeared. As if by the same divine provenance that led the Aztecs to invent guacamole in the 16th century, avocados somehow knew that if they just held on until man arrived, they’d have a bright and plentiful future.
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