The Origins of Candies

by Christopher Paul on March 6, 2011

Every year as part of Darwin Days, Bob Paul, a biologist at St. Mary’s College, gives a lecture on the evolution of candy – the study of how candy changed over time much like Charles Darwin proposed with animals in nature.

Paul explained that as candy was faced with different environmental pressures and artificial (human) selection over time, new species began to be favored that could withstand those conditions, leading to the wide variety of candy that exists today.

Morphological changes in candy can even be seen on the inside of the candy itself.

After careful dissection experiments, Paul noticed that Jujubes, Dots, and Chiclets all have a primitive structure, an internal matrix of jelly, or cytoplasm.

However, other species (Hershey bars and Snickers) have a more advanced structure.

Members of the Milk Chocolate family, for example, have a wrapper epidermis that (upon careful removal and bilateral sectioning of the species Snickers) reveals a chocolate ectoderm (an outer tissue covering or “outer skin”) and nougat endoderm (inner tissue or “inner skin”).

Others species have even developed a mint endoderm to replace the nougat-filled center.

Paul hypothesized that the “crackle” layer of some candies migrated to the ectodermis over evolutionary time in certain species, while other complex changes generated species with new structures.

As Mounds developed a coconut endoderm and Almond Joys a large almond between the chocolate ectoderm and coconut endoderm, other species further adapted to selection pressures by developing a mesoderm (“middle layer” between ectoderm and endoderm) of caramel.

“These were strongly-favored adaptations,” said Paul, “and extremely valued and favored by natural selection.”

I’ve never heard of natural selection described that way but it makes a lot sense. And now I’m hungry… time for some chocolate chips.

The Evolution of Candy – The Point News via Boing Boing

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