From Shawna Williams at The Scientist:
Ancient fossils reveal how woodless trees got so big: by continuously ripping apart their xylem and knitting it back together.
The trees’ woody fibers—namely, xylem, which carries water up the trunk—formed rings in the outer part of the trunk and connected to one another by horizontal strands, says Berry. Soft tissue filled the spaces between the fibrous network. As the trees grew outward, the xylem slowly ripped apart to accommodate the expansion, then knitted itself back together.
The cores of the trees were hollow. While the architecture allowed the trees to support their weight as they expanded, they also caused what Stein terms a “structural failure”: the weight bearing down on the tree’s base caused it to deform, becoming significantly wider than the rest of the trunk.
In contrast, a typical modern tree “adds wood around the outside of the trunk, grows growth rings, and that’s it . . . you’d think that the earliest trees would be the most simple ones, but obviously there’s something very, very complex going on here,” Berry says.More.
Maybe conditions back then were favorable to complex, useful systems (specified complexities) coming into existence quickly just by chance in a way that they wouldn’t today. Some say there also used to be magic…
See also: Researchers: Earth’s first trees were also “most complex” How did we know Darwinism was true? Because the first plants were simplest, right? So would a Darwinian account of life have predicted this? Does it predict anything? Is there anything about it that is actually true in a science-based way?