Many of us have wondered whether or not plants feel pain when they are plucked, torn, or cut down. One of the go-to arguments of “ethical vegetarians” is that plants don’t feel pain like animals do! Finally, we are about to have a striking revelation!
According to a report by News18, plants make sounds when they are in pain or in stress, especially when deprived of water or are forced to endure bodily harm. These sounds cannot be heard by the human ear. They can, however, be heard by bats, mice, and probably by other plants.
According to a study conducted by the University of Tel Aviv, Isreal, tobacco and tomato plants were found to make sounds that could be recorded from a distance of 10cm.
The researchers deprived the tobacco and tomato plants of water and cut their stems. They then recorded their response with a microphone placed 10cm away. It was found that the plants began to emit ultrasonic sounds between 20 and 100 kilohertz. This means that plants try to convey their stress to other organisms, reports Mail Online.
When a tomato plant’s stem was cut, it emitted 25 ultrasonic distress sounds for over an hour. The tobacco plant emitted 15 distress sounds under the same circumstances.
Plants respond with different intensities of sound under different stressful circumstances. Like when the tomato plant was deprived of water, it emitted 35 distress sounds in an hour. Whereas, the tobacco plant emitted 11.
Researchers have developed 35 machine learning models which can distinguish between plant sounds and other general noises. These machines could identify from the sounds emitted from the plants whether they are dry, cut, or intact.
“These findings can alter the way we think about the plant kingdom, which has been considered to be almost silent until now,” said the researchers.
This could help farmers to identify potential problems with crops and work on them appropriately.
Whoever thinks plants don’t feel pain, think again!