Food Technology

Who designed the banana?

Looking at a banana from a design perspective, one immediately notices the fruit is highly ergonomic and sophisticated: Bananas fit perfectly in the human hand, they come with a non-slip surface, a bio-degradable packaging that is easy to open, and they have an advanced informative skin that turns yellow when the product is ready for consumption – green means not yet, brown means too late.

The design of the banana is so good, some evangelists – like the one in the video – present it as evidence that an ‘intelligent designer’ must have created the fruit. These evangelists however, makes a quintessential mistake on the static origins of ‘nature’, as they ignore that the bananas we eat today are hardly products of old nature. Rather, they are the result of thousands of years of domestication by people.

Archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence suggests that banana cultivation goes back to at least 5000 BCE. The design banana’s we eat cannot even reproduce without the hand of man, as they have no seeds – they are all clones, which makes the species highly vulnerable to diseases.

Wild bananas are still around, yet they are much less ergonomically adjusted for human consumption as they have have numerous large, hard seeds. Perhaps in the far future evangelists will present coke bottles as evidence for their ‘intelligent designer’ argument?



Related: A designers take on intelligent design, Banana Juice box, Banana inspired harddisk casing. Thanks Billy.