Can plants hear themselves dying?
As bad of news as it may seem for us leaf eaters… maybe.
Apparently, plants can apparently act defensively – and they do it in response to being eaten. Or… knowing they’re about to be eaten. In a study done at the University of Missouri, caterpillars learned this the hard way when their lunch of leaves demanded they leave – by producing defensive mustard oils. The way the research was done sounds almost too weird to be real science – but it is. All life responds to vibrations. Even chopped up DNA sitting in a tube of water will form life if you bump a bit of Schumann resonance nearby.
And I guess plants are no different in perceiving frequencies. Because when scientists recorded the vibrations of dining caterpillars and played them back to the same species of plants just hanging out – the plants started producing those defensive oils like an angry octopus squirting ink – even though no one was crunching on them physically.
Then, true to form, once the plant restaurant opened for bizz, the butterfly betas deferred getting their fill of chlorophyll. But only on the leaves of plants that’d “heard” (weird, right?) the munching frequency because the mustard oils are caterpillar kryptonite (or yucky enough at least to not eat).
Yes, but this begs the question – are they doing it because they can feel it?
If I wake up in the middle of the night and hear something chewing somewhere in the darkness of my room, you can bet your ass I’ll pull out my swiss army knife and start wielding it blindly into the blackness. This is also a defensive act. But it’s not because I think I’m being eaten alive. It’s because I don’t want to be imminently eaten alive by the gnawing imposter.
So can they actually feel when it happens? Or is it just an evolutionary mechanism where they lack nociceptors (pain receptors), but stopping other stuff from eating them is obviously favorable for seed spreading?
Suppose we’ll find out when the vegans take over and Mark Wahlberg has to save the world.
(If you don’t get the movie reference, here’s a 3 paneled summary):
But, ya know.
Personally, I love mustard.
So I guess I’m good.