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A team of Scientists led by Professor Karpinski at Warsaw's University of Life Sciences recently revealed that they had conducted tests, which proved plants can remember and process information, just like human beings.
To test the theory, the team conducted several experiments. They started with shining a white light on just one plant leaf. To their astonishment, they noticed that the entire plant somehow received the signal and, responded to it via a chain of chemical reactions - similar to how the human nervous system works. Even more interesting was that the chemical reaction continued, long after the light was turned off, leading the scientists to conclude that plants have a short-term memory.
The team then performed another series of tests where they exposed the plant to three different colors of light - red, blue and white.
They noticed that the chemical reaction to each light was different, leading them to suspect that plants are 'smart' enough to use different information to stimulate different kinds of protective chemical reactions.
To verify that, the team conducted a third set of experiments whereby they shone different colored lights for an hour and then injected the plant with a virus or bacteria. In each case, the plant was able to resist, suggesting that it used the light to build immunity. However, when they infected the plant without exposing it to any light, it was unable to fight back.
The team believes that the varying reactions to different lights is evidence that plants are smart enough to figure out what season it is, based on the natural light that reflects on it and build up different kinds of immunity. According to Professor Karpinski, this explains how plants are able to survive through severely cold winters or hot summers.
However, not everyone agrees with the team's conclusions - Elizabeth Van Volkenburgen, a botanist at the University of Washington, says that while plants definitely have very sophisticated systems, to say that they possess human-like intelligence is a little far-fetched! What do you think? Be sure to let us know, by adding your comments below.
sources: BBC.co.uk, Popsi.com, Scientificamerican.com