Can Plants Really Count?

Can Plants Really Count?



It seems silly to ask if plants can count, but even the New York Times has called Venus flytraps ‘Plants That Can Count.’ Is counting a thing plants can do?

Hosted by: Hank Green

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Sources:

https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/wild-things/catch-meal-venus-flytrap-counts-five
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/the-venus-flytrap-can-count-past-2/
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01501-8
https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/eating-venus-flytraps-must-count
https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2005-04876-001
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3527185/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228256/
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pce.13065
https://www.pnas.org/content/94/7/2793
https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/organ-systems/neuron-membrane-potentials/a/neuron-action-potentials-the-creation-of-a-brain-signal
https://www.cell.com/trends/plant-science/fulltext/S1360-1385(17)30280-7
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17263772
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/plants-cannot-think-and-remember-but-theres-nothing-stupid-about-them-theyre-shockingly-sophisticated/
https://elifesciences.org/articles/00669
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-22991838
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/282/5389/662
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4914563/
https://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(18)30741-4

Image Sources:
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/the-new-york-times-weekly-edition-in-delo-newspaper-gm157773702-16126249
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/venus-flytrap-gm515908567-48058944
https://www.videoblocks.com/video/time-lapse-of-growing-venus-flytrap-dionaea-muscipula-plant-1x3w-in-4k-format-with-alpha-transparency-channel-isolated-on-white-background-hk7yet26-j95e6nw2
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/sour-drops-gm179437493-26669314
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/green-leaf-gm465846859-33415672
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/venus-flytrap-with-trapped-fly-gm508792460-85444167
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arabidopsis_thaliana_JdP_2013-04-28.jpg
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/venus-fly-trap-gm172730339-5126104

Comments

    freewilly1193

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    What about starfish? No brain, but we acknowledge a decentralized nervous system, so could it not be possible for plants to have something similar?

    RyDaddy

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Analog biological computer…so a Venus fly trap has an internal abacus.

    XperimentorEES

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    This is old news lol, Moody Institute of Science had already discovered this decades ago.

    Pope Is Maad

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    1:51 quantities is spelt wrong, love the vids and love u hanky boy

    Zoltan Szisze

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    in the comics i think groot is a scientist, so i guess he can

    James Brown

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Just wait till the day of the triffids, then our days are counted..euhm numbered

    Killerean

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    I can build you a completely dumb electrical circuit that will do exactly the same stuff without any brains. The principle is not that hard to understand once you get some knowledge over circuitry and switches really.

    Sure, my version would have been atrociously large, but it would've been able to do the basics.

    Circuit counting:
    1-2-close
    1-2-3-4-5=open valve 6=open valve 7=open valve 8=open valve…
    timeout=open
    is really no big deal if you have enough space and resources to build.

    It's like programming, but instead of programs you use physical switches to do the job. In fact, you can make mechanical, as well as pneumatic or hydraulic version of this. But you sure wouldn't call it counting once you know how it works. So for me, yea the plant is cool, but it's nowhere near actually counting stuff.

    My guess is, that the plant will have chemical or electro-chemical version of exactly this kind of switching available.

    dupersuper1938

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    I already knew Venus Flytrap could count. Hell, he was a teacher before he became a DJ.

    Curiouser

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Groot, grooot, groooot.

    a clown

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    So you're saying because a plant has to be stimulated a certain number of times before it can eat, that means that it's Counting? I think not, but if you say so, then it must be true…

    huldu

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    I'm a proud carnivore and we shouldn't eat plants because they too have lives. You too should be a carnivore. I hate vegans. STOP EATING PLANTS YOU MURDERERS!

    Bunt Glas

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Lmao this research was done by one of my professors and he's so incredibly enthusiastic about it. The questionmark in the title really had me concerned for a moment there

    Edwin chattellon

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Forget A.I. , plants are taking over

    Kamron Thurmond

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Plants are far more sophisticated than we think they are. There is evidence that they can communicate with each other as well. Heck the largest living organism is a type of mushroom. Am I really supposed to believe that it's not a more complex organism than we used to believe.

    Bang Byeol

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Can I eat that plant and still being plant-based?

    Harry W

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Let's not be arrogant and think that they don't have a "mind" because they don't use the same processes as us. For all we know they may be very much conscious of what's happening around them, and even composing poetry while waiting for the next insect.

    Charles Woodruff

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    M. Night Shyamalan might've been on to something.

    claude ghendrih

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    The definition of sentient is rather fuzzy even in our minds

    Business Chicken

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Thanks Mr. Foxly!

    mayank vaish

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Please make a video on plastic recycling by pyrolysis method covering cost, feasibility and pros and cons

    mcpickle

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    once again you can say the name of this video and you will almost certainly hear "hey Vsauce micheal here" before the question.

    James 4theDoctor

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    4:10 costume change?

    Lilac Lizard

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Plants are carrying out a range of different learning behaviours, that when seen in animals we consider as proof that the animal is sentient, so why exactly are you saying that plants aren't sentient?
    The mimosa plant's learning not to react to low level drops of it's pot & remembering for a month being probably the best example of learning behaviour that in an animal would be considered as proof that it was one of the most intelligent & sentient animals on the planet.

    Plants ability to recognise their own roots & respond differently to themselves v a competing plant, even if it is a clone of themselves, being another example that in animals is seen as high level sentience & self awareness, in fact only a dozen or so species of animals on the planet show this level of self-awareness.

    & as for brains, well of course they don't have a single brain! That would be dumb for such a slow moving lifeform! They do the same as we do for computer systems & use a decentralised "brain" so that if one node is taken out, the plant's functions are not effected. There is again very convincing evidence for plants having multiple brain/brain like nodes in their root tips, even timelapse video showing normal plants v zombie plants that have had their brains cut off, as they search the ground for food & gaps to grow though & the difference between the 2 is obvious

    Saw your merch. Pissed off that you guys don't sell flamethrowers. Please fix this.

    iKeyvier

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Next video: Can plants sneeze?

    Super Loops

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    its plantist to say that plants cant count. like really, you have external stimulus causing change to internal biochemistry, once the biochem has changed state enough it triggers events which cause the organism to respond in some way. that could describe a venus flytrap "deciding" when to pounce or a person counting things 1 2 3 etc. animal consciousness of the process is just another emergent property of the internal biochemistry. but its all basically the same stuff.

    William Wood

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Groot can count all the way up from "I" though "am" all the way to "Groot" it is a really sophisticated numeral system

    Borrah Campbell III

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    I feel like the idea that plants don't have intelligence at all is old & ready to be retired.

    A nice place to start might be the mycelium fungi the connects all plants.

    Waltham1892

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    I am Groot…

    Translation: "Dude, I majored in mathematics in college and I live on a spaceship".

    OLBICHL

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Can groot count?
    XD ofc he can! C'mon groot, show him!
    groot: "I am groot, I am grootgroot, I am grootgrootgroot… I am grootygroot… I am grootygrootygrootgroot… I am grootilliongrootredgrootygroot!"

    Lord Bootyquake

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    It's easier to understand plants when you realize they're basically just one giant chemical reaction made of smaller chemical reactions on autopilot

    Jeremy Smith

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    My goal in life is to get rich and stage a coup on SR Foxley ☺ Presidency of space shall be mine!

    (Fr though SR Foxley you are an amazing person, thanks for supporting SciShow for everyone who cant)

    Mike O'.

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Welcome back, SR Foxley

    Google made me do it

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    This zooming effect applied to the text is really nauseating.

    atha

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    i wonder if they start counting from one or zero

    superdau

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    A venus fly trap can count as much as a machine that, let's say drops a marble every time a button is pushed, can count.

    Svedii

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Vegans are gonna have to eat air now.

    Master Gaming

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    Imagine what would the vegans go if plants are found to have a mind or Brian like thing

    TacShooter

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    What if we only think we are thinking?

    Justin Time

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    I can always count on Scishow to provide awesome videos!

    Tri-green-angles green triangles

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    .partylf suneV

    AVMTG

    (June 25, 2019 - 5:42 pm)

    'Sophisticated biological mechanisms that enable them to react to changes in their environment'
    I think this is a terrible argument for life with out sentience… Thats all our brains are? Were just even more Sophisticated biological mechanisms that enable us to react to changes in our environment..
    Saying it like this make consciousness seem like its somehow removed from the evolutionary biology chain. Were no different. Just more complicated.
    I think therefor I am?
    I disagree.
    We are, Therefor, we think.

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