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Author Topic: Are Plants Intelligent?  (Read 4005 times)
Neonlare
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Are Plants Intelligent?
« on: April 09, 2007, 12:03:58 am »

I bring to you THIS question!

Are Plants Intelligent?

No, don't phone the Lunatic Asylum with the missing in-mate, this is a serious question.

Yes I am talking to you.

Now, reading through last months Focus Magazine (A Science and Technology based magazine, which goes through all the new discoveries and inventions and such, as far as I know it's only here in England) they have a special article on Plant Intelligence. It was a serious article, going through the theories that Plants might even be Sentient, as they adapt to the environment or change it to suite their needs.

I'll have to find the copy of the magazine I have, it's somewhere in my house, but it does pose a very strange question. There is a fair amount of information to back this theory up too, they conducted tests on plant species such as the Venus Fly Trap and found that they can recognise themselves as themselves, and tell that another plant is different to themselves even when it has grown from a clipping of the original one.

There's only a few creatures on the planet capable of passing this test currently; Hunams, Cetaceans, Orangutangs, Apes, Monkeys and Elephants.

Now, thinking about it further, it doesn't seem so far fetched. They've outlived us, our ancestors, and dinosaurs, they were one of the first biological beings on the planet and they are obviously very, very good at their job because they have thrived throughout most of their time on this planet.

But then there's the problem of a lack of "Brain" or any recognisable organs for Man to correlate on. This theory of Botanical Sentience has split a crack down the brains behind the lab coats, some believe in the theory, others dispose of it as poppy-cock.

I think that there might be a hint of truth to it, but until even more evidence comes out, then I'm ever so slightly sceptical...

But, what do YOU, the people of Star Control, think of this? Fact, or Fiction?

(Source of this came from this Magazine http://www.focusmag.co.uk/currentIssue.asp)

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countchocula86
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2007, 12:44:38 am »

I think plants often get overlooked because they are sessile. That article certainly sounds interesting, I'm very curious about that test.
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 05:55:54 pm »

Well, as they have no brains nor a nervous system of any kind, they can't be intelligent in the way that it's usually spoken of. They could be intelligent in their own way, or they could be not. We can't really define intelligence without bias.
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Draxas
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2007, 06:19:11 pm »

Vegetarianism is murder! Eat more meat! Wink
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Neonlare
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2007, 06:49:27 pm »

That made me laugh hard Draxas, wonderful Cheesy.

But this really could shake the foundations of science, IF proven true...
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2007, 08:26:24 pm »

Or it could be one of the silliest theories to ever come down the pipe since Spontaneous Generation. But I'll keep my eyes open for more info, and try not to dismiss it out of hand... yet.
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Deus Siddis
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2007, 04:06:55 pm »

I don't think there is much evolutionary force working to promote such a thing in plants, since they basically just have chemical production/excretion and directional growth to worry about.

Perhaps if the planet was closer to the sun or something, advanced multicellular life would have evolved from Euglenoids.
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2007, 08:47:49 pm »

Vegetarianism is murder! Eat more meat! Wink


There's actually a song about that, made back in '95 or '96 by the Arrogant Worms. It goes by the tune of that Piano Man song.

I'd rather not know wheter or not plants are sentient. The minute they find an inkling of intellegence, a thousand scientists will give up on AIDs and Cancer and start lobbying to give fly traps equal rights. This is an example of research that will in no way further human development. Let's see more into how to stop our pollution from exterminating these plants first, please.
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RTyp06
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2007, 01:41:55 am »

Any plant or animal that can communicate has a certain level of "intelligence" in my view. Machines can communicate and are  not intelligent , their desigeners are. I believe communication at any level of sophistication nessictates an underlying intelligence of some sort. This could very well include the microcellular machines that manipulate DNA itself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicating

I found this particularly interesting:

Plant communication is observed (a) within the plant organism, i.e. within plant cells and between plant cells, (b) between plants of the same or related species and (c) between plants and non-plant organisms, especially in the rootzone. Plant roots communicate in parallel with rhizobia bacteria, with fungi and with insects in the soil. This parallel sign-mediated interactions which are governed by syntactic, pragmatic and semantic rules are possible because of the decentralized nervous system of plants.

As recent research shows 99% of intraorganismic plant communication processes are neuronal-like. Plants communicate also via volatiles in the case of herbivory attack behavior to warn neighboring plants. In parallel they produce other volatiles which attract parasites which attack these herbivores. In stress situations plants can overwrite the genetic code they inherited from their parents and revert to that of their grand- or great-grandparents.


Similar findings are cropping up in single celled bacteria as well.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2007, 01:45:32 am by RTyp06 » Logged
Zeep-Eeep
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2007, 12:21:24 am »

I remember talking to a hortoculturalist aboutthis several years ago. I'm
not sure if intelligent is the right word. I mean, what are the requirements for
intelligence?

But plants react to their environment in ways that usually make sense. They
change growth direction and search out food. I think plants are aware,
if not exactly conscience.

For example, a whale or human might stop somethign useful or productive
and go play, because it feels good. It might not be healthy, but the creature
enjoys doing it. I don't know of any cases where plants will change behavior
and do something else without a corisponding change in their environment.
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2007, 09:48:51 am »

This would rather imply that they have a limited intelligence, not "no intelligence at all". Some primitive invertebrates show similar behavior.

Quote from: Zeep-Eeep
But plants react to their environment in ways that usually make sense. They
change growth direction and search out food. I think plants are aware,
if not exactly conscience.
This is a debatable subject. Who knows if humans are conscious (self-aware, etc.) at all?!

Quote from: Zeep-Eeep
I remember talking to a horticulturist about this several years ago. I'm
not sure if intelligent is the right word. I mean, what are the requirements for
intelligence?
This is not something really well established, but for animal cognition,
-Attention
-Categorization
-Memory
-Tool and weapon use
-Reasoning and problem solving
-Language
-Consciousness
-Deception
-empathy and theory of mind
-Emotion
are treated as requirements - see Wikipedia.

Intelligence, generally, is the ability to comprehend the surroundings and react to them accordingly, learn from experience etc.; plants do not show such abilities.
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Neonlare
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2007, 09:13:13 pm »

This is not something really well established, but for animal cognition,
-Attention
-Categorization
-Memory
-Tool and weapon use
-Reasoning and problem solving
-Language
-Consciousness
-Deception
-empathy and theory of mind
-Emotion
are treated as requirements - see Wikipedia.

Intelligence, generally, is the ability to comprehend the surroundings and react to them accordingly, learn from experience etc.; plants do not show such abilities.

Er, you sure about that? I'll name an example from the Focus Magazine I was talking about.

There is a certain species of plant that emits a gas to warn others (of the same species) that harmful animals were approaching (like locust), but there's another species which lives nearby these plants, which takes this information in, spying on them so that it can protect itself, I really have to find that article on the internet somewhere, it was really in depth (5 pages worth).
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Valaggar
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2007, 08:22:41 am »

These are preprogrammed reactions that will always be the same. Not a plethora of choices to be made by the plant.
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Arne
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2007, 06:39:16 am »

Semantics?

Intelligence is not a boolean, unless we apply some sort of arbitrary threshold. It also has several dimensions which needs to be taken into account.

I find it unlikely that plants would be spending their evo points on intelligence. Sure, they might get some sensory data like light, nutrition and so forth, and they can move a little... But I would guess they mostly encounter the same situations over an over again, so there's no need for them to think on their feet.

Random:
There's an insect (I don't know the english name) that can actually sting a tree leaf and inject some DNA that mutates the leaf so it grows a little house for the insect. Or so I've heard. You've probably seen a little round bulge on a leaf at some occasion, that would be it.
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Neonlare
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Re: Are Plants Intelligent?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2007, 02:45:20 pm »

Semantics?

Intelligence is not a boolean, unless we apply some sort of arbitrary threshold. It also has several dimensions which needs to be taken into account.

I find it unlikely that plants would be spending their evo points on intelligence. Sure, they might get some sensory data like light, nutrition and so forth, and they can move a little... But I would guess they mostly encounter the same situations over an over again, so there's no need for them to think on their feet.

Random:
There's an insect (I don't know the english name) that can actually sting a tree leaf and inject some DNA that mutates the leaf so it grows a little house for the insect. Or so I've heard. You've probably seen a little round bulge on a leaf at some occasion, that would be it.

SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE! *crowd cheers*

Heh, well I guess the decision made by the SC public here is : No Supox :S.

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"would newton's law theory actually work if a Chmmr Avatar did a backwards pelvic thrust towards a planet and would this constitute an X=Y-0 in the part it ran straight into a Supox Blade and lasted long enough to survive?" - Elerium (as Valaggar)
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