As this article clearly points out, and as most of us can confirm, coffee is a drug that benefits us. After all, “caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world”. So why do we intake it? Carl Zimmer does a nice job of using scientific research to show us.
The studies conducted demonstrates that plants such as ones used for tea and coffee both produce caffeine, however they evolved to producing it in different ways. That is, the enzyme N-Methyltransferase mutated and created caffeine in multiple species, including cacao and coffee. This example of convergent evolution shows that caffeine must be pretty useful to plants and animals, us included. If you are interested in knowing more about the affect of caffeine on humans, you can look at the two links below.
So what is the point of noting that caffeine had evolved? Or why it is significant? Every organism evolves, according to the theory of evolution. As Zimmer wrote in The New York Times article, caffeine was evolved for its useful qualities. Caffeine evolved because it works as a pesticide for plants, makes a plant’s nectar more distinctive and wakes us up in the morning. The article leaves the message that caffeine evolved with the purpose of assisting living organisms. So is that really how evolution works? Was caffeine really evolved for beneficiary reasons instead of being a coincidence? Evolution changes species to maximize their chance survival, as we are all familiar with the term ‘survival of the fittest’. Is this suggesting that caffeine is a necessity to certain plants and animals or does it simply enhance life? If this article was presented to skeptics of evolution, would their views on the topic change?