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Can Plants Hear?

Can Plants Hear?

Arabidopsis thaliana has an appropriate common name: mouse-ear cress. In a 2014 study, scientists recorded the vibrations of a chewing cabbage butterfly caterpillar, then played them near Arabidopsis specimens. Those that "heard" the recording produced an increased amount of mustard oil as a defense mechanism. This response did not occur when the team played recordings of other vibrations, such as those caused by the wind or nonthreatening insects. The scientists also speculated that this ability to "hear" is not limited to Arabidopsis.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Charles Darwin came up with the "root brain" theory, which postulates that the tips of a plant's roots transmit information to the plant. 00:41

  2. Some plants will produce a repellant substance as a defense mechanism if the sounds of a munching caterpillar are played nearby. 01:36

  3. The Mimosa pudica plant seems to demonstrate learning behavior and memory. 02:46

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