he co-evolutionary relationship between cows and grass is one of nature's underappreciated wonders; it also happens to be the key to understanding just about everything about modern meat.
For the grasses, which have evolved to withstand the grazing of ruminants, the cow maintains and expands their habitat by preventing trees and shrubs from gaining a foothold and hogging the sunlight;the animal also spreads grassseed, plants it with his hooves, and then fertilizes it with his manure.
In exchange for theseservices the grasses offer ruminants a plentiful and exclusive supply of lunch. For cows(like sheep, bison, and other ruminants) have evolved the special ability to convert grass—
which single-stomached creatures like us can't digest—into high-quality protein.
They can do this because they possess what is surely the most highly evolved digestiveorgan in nature: the rumen.
About the size of a medicine ball, the organ is essentially aforty-five-gallon fermentation tank in which a resident population of bacteria dines on grass.
There is a co-evolutionary relationship between cows and grass, in which cows spread and plant the grass seed, and convert the grass into high-quality protein with their rumen, while grasses have evolved to withstand the grazing of ruminants and offer the animals aplentiful supply of food.