Science: Forest Pearl

A perfect pearl, formed not in an oyster but in a coconut, was exhibited last week in Florida by Botanist David Fairchild. One of a dozen found in 9,000,000 East Indian coconuts, the pearl began (scientists believe) when a sprout was unable to force its way through one of the three pores in a germinating nut. Like a sand grain in an oyster, the sprout was then encrusted with layers of calcium carbonate-even though chemists have never found this compound in either the nut's milk or kernel.

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