metaphor watch

The Discovery Channel's news blog featured this headline yesterday:

Rodents Pass Huge Seeds Like Olympic Torches

Common understanding of how the Olympic torch pass-off works may need to be revised. According to the Discovery article:

The study found that the rainforest-dwelling agoutis hoard [a] palm tree's seeds like squirrels. Such huge seeds provide a lot of bang for the food buck, so the rodents often visit each other's caches and steal the coveted seeds. Each theft moves the seed around, which benefits the tree. The movement happens far enough away from the mother tree to create favorable conditions for germination.

In a similar manner, an Olympic torch-bearer buries her torch somewhere it can't be found. Weeks or months go by and another torch-bearer stumbles on the cache, steals the torch, and buries it again, hoping it will not be found by another torch-bearer. The flame miraculously keeps burning until eventually, months or years later, the Olympics begin. Who knew?