8. Alkaloids In Plants
Plants often produce substances that have a lot of cool—and sometimes terrifying—effects on the animals that consume them. Alkaloids, as they are called, are naturally occurring substances in plants as well as animals, one of the popular ones being morphine. About 7,000 different types of alkaloids have been identified in plants, and even though we have been able to study the chemicals extensively, we’re still not quite sure why they’re there to begin with.
These are strong substances that elicit a variety of responses when consumed by other animals. In the case of the poppy plant that produces morphine, some experts believe that it’s useful for keeping predators away, although how morphine, a substance that’s very effective at reducing pain, keeps predators away is anybody’s guess. Some believe that, instead of external reasons, they might be useful for regulating the metabolism of the plants themselves.