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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Are pea plants better decision makers than humans?

Pisum sativum Via Wikipedia
...In order to evaluate plants’ decision making skills, researchers grew pea plants with their roots split between two pots with varying levels of nutrients. First, scientists found that plants chose to grow more roots in the pot with more nutrients.
Then, scientists examined plant behavior when one of the pots offered a consistent level of nutrients, but the other pot varied widely.
While both pots offered the same amount of nutrients on average, when the average nutrient level was high in the consistent pot, plants chose that pot. Yet, plants chose to grow more roots in the pot with a varied level of nutrients when the consistent pot offered a low amount of nutrients, demonstrating a willingness to take calculated risks.
“Complex and interesting behaviours can be theoretically predicted as biological adaptations, and executed by organisms,” said Dr. Kacelnik, “on the basis of processes evolved to exploit natural opportunities efficiently."
Scientists are still unsure of the plants sense variance, but they are nevertheless surprised by the decision making skills that the plants evidently possess.
"I used to look at plants as passive receivers of circumstances," says Efrat Dener, of Ben-Gurion University in Israel. "This line of experiments illustrates how wrong that view is: living organisms are designed by natural selection to exploit their opportunities, and this often implies a great deal of flexibility."...

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