The mechanism represents a unique and stunningly brilliant solution to the problem of raising water to the top of large trees.
Clearly, unless water can be drawn several meters up the conduits in their tree trunks, large woody trees would be impossible.
Without lignin, there would be no woody plants, no wood, no coal, no charcoal, no fire, no pottery, and certainly no iron or metallurgy.
Conditions on Earth, the laws of physics, are not only fine-tuned for the survival of intelligent beings, they are fine-tuned for the development of technology.
The adhesive properties of gecko toe pads, based on atomic van der Waals attraction, have been understood for years now.