If cognition is essentially an organism being able to respond effectively to its environment, then a drooping its branches at night to conserve energy could be said to be an early form of it.
Here’s research showing how trees have a kind of ‘pulse’ that works on a much slower timescale than those of animals.
Check out the interesting conversation about veganism and suffering on Eli Fennell’s original post.
Originally shared by Eli Fennell
Trees May Have A (Very Subtle) Pulse
It is often thought that plants are almost wholly quiescent creatures. In reality, though, if one pays close enough attention, one finds that plants are very active and busy creatures, which are both reactively and proactively responsive to their environment, and which can ‘move’ (often via directed growth patterns) albeit slowly in ways both dramatic and clever, at times almost animal-like when observed at an accelerated rate of time (e.g. Time Lapse Video). Some plants even have neuronal structures and systems, which are in some ways brainlike, and some also even engage in sophisticated biocommunication with other plants.
Now we may have another thing to add to the list: a pulse. New evidence published in Plant Signalling and Behavior argues that trees display subtle movements, following subcircadian rhythms, of their trunks and branches caused by movement of water through the tree by differential water pressure forces in the trunk and branches.
These movements are phasic, taking place over many hours (making them hard to observe), and are not linked to circadian (i.e. sleep or sleep-like; Day-Night related) water rhythms which have previously been noted.
Although popular reporting is comparing this with a heartbeat, the better comparison, used by the researchers themselves, would be to a pulse. A heartbeat would require a heart, after all, some central organ for driving the pulsation, but no such organ is being proposed here.
It is also worth considering that this may not be an entirely unique observation. Hints that such a thing were noted even in ancient times may be hidden in literary references and folk traditions dismissed as religiomagical, metaphysical, esoteric, or protoscientific, and it may fairly be said that a special reverence for trees has been common in human belief systems. Observations of the subtle movements of trees, following circadian and subcircadian rhythms, may well have influenced these.
#BlindMeWithScience #SecretLifeofPlants #Botany