As droughts continue to happen all over the world, mankind has much to learn from the plants and animals of the desert. For instance, conservation of water is a primary goal of both. Most desert wildlife get their water from their fuel. They eat young plants, fruit and seeds - or if carnivores, the blood and tissues of their prey. Once they have retained water, they can prevent it from leaving their body by burrowing to avoid the drying sun and only emerging at night to eat. Then there are creatures like scorpions with exoskeletons made of chitin, which is like a shrimp shell, to reduce the loss of moisture. Biologically, the kidneys of desert animals concentrate urine so they excrete less water, less often.
There is much more than just animal life in the desert. Plants need to catch and store water when available, to survive the extreme dryness and range of temperatures within a day. Cacti have altered their physical structure so that they have few or no leaves, which reduces moisture loss. Other plants have adapted by growing extremely long roots to reach soil that has more moisture. Some, like the Joshua Tree, simply take their time growing. They may take 60 years to come to maturity and can live more than 500 years. Go ahead and take this quiz. You'll be amazed by all the desert beauty!