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Is Eating Plants Wrong?

Plant scientists claim that plants cannot just sense, but communicate, learn and remember. One scientist says, they are a "who" and not a "what", so is it wrong to eat them?

Plant scientists from around the world are coming up with mind-blowing findings, and claiming that plants cannot just sense, but communicate, learn and remember.

In an experiment in Australia, plants appeared to learn to associate a sound with a food source, just like the proverbial Pavlovian dogs linked the sound of a bell with dinner. In Israel they found that plants communicated a message Chinese whispers style, and that the transferred information was used to survive drought. In British Columbia and the UK they have shown that trees do not just pass information and nutrients to each other through an underground fungal network, but that this happens more with closely related trees or seedlings than with strangers. The question is, are the trees deciding on helping their kin, or are the fungi finding it easier to connect to genetically similar trees?

And in California it turns out that sagebrush shrubs have "regional dialects"!
Botanist James Wong explores these findings and asks whether, if plants can do all these things, and if, as one scientist says, they are a "who" and not a "what", then is it wrong to eat them?

(Photo: A local man waters his lettuces in an allotment in Port-Bouet, a district of Abidjan. Credit: Sia Kambou/AFP)

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27 minutes

Last on

Thu 31 May 2018 01:32GMT

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