Plant Sentience

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Wildlife fans and animal lovers like me and you are still delighted as new science arises showing the intellect of those among us, such as new studies on how crows handle challenges or whales have multifaceted cultures. Nonetheless, when it comes to planting knowledge, it always seems a little New Agey to all of us. Plants' capacities have been overlooked for decades because they are silent, inert creatures. Recent research, however, has revealed that plants can, in fact, process knowledge, recall, and communicate; that trees live together as families and nurture the young as they grow; and that plants can, in fact, process information, remember, and communicate. and that our entire notion of the way plants behaves is very rudimentary (Wohlleben, Flannery, Simard, and Billinghurst 1). These studies have proved that plants show altruism, comprehend kinship just like animals and have volition. The essay explores the ways in which plants show signs of awareness and intelligence.

Firstly, the pain, sensation, and homologous systems depicted by plants indicate that they have the capacity to perceive, feel, or experience subjectively. While the sumptuous experiences of animals and plants qualitatively differ, partly to the reality that plants do not have discernible perception organ, plants possess sensuous capacities which are functionally comparable at least to the five senses of animals. In spite of the inability of plants to translate the light reflected from objects into images, they do change it to cues for phenotypic, morphological and physiological development. Not only do they differentiate light from shadow just like animals, but they also track both the seasons as well as time in a given day. There is no fastidious advantage for the plants to perceive as we do, but certainly, it benefits them in knowing the duration, intensity, and direction of the sources of light together with the probable obstructions to reaching it (Tompkins and Bird 17).

The only distinction between smell and taste is that smell depends on soluble whilst taste depends on volatiles. Plants, that being the case, have the capability of sensing and responding to the volatiles within the air as well as to the soluble that can be found on their bodies. Therefore, they taste and smell and they are very sensitive to the pheromones just like human beings, employing them during signaling and communication. Similarly, plants have the capability of hearing. According to Chamovitz, plants release defensive chemicals when they sense the presence of a caterpillar biting its leaves. Each plant`s movement registers on a certain frequency which cannot be shared by any other plant. Research has revealed that plants harness animals so as to reproduce. A number of plants employ complex trickery or offer advertisements and snacks (colors) in order to entice in pollinators, communicating via rewards or direct deception (Chamovitz 21). Further, research reveals that some plants are able to distinguish even between diverse pollinators and germinate only their pollen.

Just like the case of animals, the intelligence of touch is mediated electrochemically in plants. The sense of touch in plants is highly developed. Roots understand when they come into contact with solid objects while trees and bushes change their morphology as a response when they are exposed to strong wind. Such an evolutionary adaptation strengthens their capability to endure perturbations. The apparent consciousness in plants appears to rely on a number of physiological features especially those found in the root system (Tompkins and Bird 23). It is important to underscore that the plant roots have various zones including the transition zone that is active electrically and it appears analogous to the brain of the animal- it has mechanisms that are similar to the neurotransmitters. The root cap is another part of the root system which is able to sense the diverse physical properties like nutrients, oxygen, light, humidity, and gravity. A majority of the plant cells are able to not only make but also transmit the neuron-like activities. Similar to animals' brains, plants secrete melatonin, GABA, and serotonin, which act as neurotransmitters and hormones in animals.

Plants do neither require the central nervous system for them to have these opulent experiences nor do they require somebody in order to experience suffering and pain. The pain and suffering for a plant can be understood in terms of the potential or actual damage to the tissue. Plants physiologically respond to leaf punctures as a result of drought conditions, being burned, and insect bites. These ways are consonant with kin and self-preservation. One may present an opposing view that plants do not suffer pain but it should be understood that these plants have no ability to escape noxious stimuli in their environments (Chamovitz 19). Their alternative is to send signals that signify that the surrounding has become dangerous. Thus, this is an apparent indication that perhaps some pain analog assumes a communicative role between and within plants, warning the other parts together with the nearby plants to take precautions by making physiological adaptations in a bid to increase their survival chances. Nevertheless, this analogy does not necessarily need to be equivalent qualitatively to pain so as to functionally be equivalent to it

Considering the similarity of the problems experienced by plants and animals despite the differing approaches to solving them, it can be concluded that plants are intelligent. They have to reproduce, stave off predators and find energy. To accomplish these plants have established smarts and sentience. It is imperative to note that intelligence refers to the capability of solving problems and the plants, this being the case, are astoundingly good in working out their problems. To unravel their needs of energy, a number of plants are able to turn to the sun, however literally in some cases. Plants have the capability of growing via shady regions to locate light while many others turn their leaves to obtain the best light during the day. However, some plants have pursued a different route, when they prey on animals so as to supply themselves with energy (Mancuso 570). The Venus flytrap is an example of this type of plants that feed on insects. In a bid to accomplish this, these plants have established rapid reactions and complex lures that enable them to catch hold and even devour the animal prey.

In conclusion, it is evident that plants, just like animals, can process information, remember, and communicate; that trees live together as families and support their young ones as they grow; and that our entire notion of the way plants behaves is very rudimentary. Studies have proved that plants show altruism, comprehend kinship just like animals, and have volition. Plants can feel, smell, see and even mount a defense mechanism when they are under siege and can warn their neighbors about the danger on the way.

Work Cited

"Brilliant Green: the Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola (review)." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. 57.4 (2014): 569-574. Print.

Chamowitz, Daniel. What a Plant Knows A Field Guide to the Senses. , 2017. Print.

Tompkins, Peter, and Christopher Bird. The Secret Life of Plants. New York: Harper Collins, 2002. Print.

Wohlleben, Peter, Tim F. Flannery, S Simard, and Jane Billinghurst. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World. , 2017. Print.

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