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Why does a banana skin get thinner as it ripens? © Getty Images

Why does a banana skin get thinner as it ripens?

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Essential knowledge for any practical joker that has its roots in wild plantain adaptations.

Asked by: Ron Johnson, Harlow


Bananas are a cultivated form of plantain. In the wild, plantains are evolved to disperse their seeds mainly by birds and bats. While the fruit is developing it is protected by a thick skin that keeps insects out. As the seeds become ripe, the fruit absorbs water from the inside of the skin, which causes the skin cells to collapse and lose rigidity. This makes it easier for animals and birds to tear them open and carry off the little seeds along with a mouthful of banana.


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Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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