BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Humans and plants are not all that different. Plants can sometimes make human-like decisions. Similarities between the two species go as far as decision making and risk assessing is involved. Scientists have longed believed that plants are smarter than they seem. They may have some sort of memory, one with works without neurons.
Now, experts believe that they can help plants make better growing decisions, even without brains. A study published recently in „Current Biology” involved dividing the roots of pea plants into a couple of pots.
The amount of nutrients in both pots was approximately equal. However, while the first pot always had the same amount, the quantity of nutrients in the second one was either slightly higher or slightly lower.
The results were surprising. Plants always picked a reasonably good pot. When both pots had large quantities of nutrients in them, pea plants picked either pot. Just like contestants on a game show, who decide to walk away with either prize, in a win-win situation.
When the quantities of nutrients were variable, plants seemed to grow a lot more roots in the risky pot, which sometimes had more nutrients. Instead of conserving their energy and just settling for survival, plants risked it all to thrive.
The plants behaved similarly to humans who buy shares when stocks are low, in the hopes that their value will grow in time. Surprisingly, the pea plants made the best choices for their genes to be passed to future generations.
Until now, most scientists believed that plants were passive. The research conducted earlier this week proved that plants make choices and take risks, to ensure a prosperous future, much like human beings.
This research comes to complete other recent, interesting experiments on plants.
The Mimosa Pudica, or “Touch-me-not” is a plant that curls up its leaves, when touched. Test plants were dropped on foam from a height of six inches. After repeated drops, plants no longer curled their leaves, somehow remembering the falls were not harmful and thus ignoring them.
There are now two major experiments, one Mimosa Pudica experiment from the University of Australia, the other pea – plant experiment conducted by several Western Universities. These experiments came to the conclusion that plants have some sort of memory and they use it in extreme conditions.
Perhaps it’s time for us to accept our pea-brains! And the fact that plants make human-like decisions.
Image Source – Wikipedia