For all your vegetarian friends sitting on their high-horse of ‘un-cruel’ eating, they’re about to get knocked right off with a forceful kick to the gut.
A new discovery has been made by the University of Missouri (MU) research team.
Yes, apparently they don’t have anything better to do with their money than to watch plants, but I digress.
It has been revealed that plants can sense sounds nearby, like the sound of eating, and then react to the threat in their environment.
‘Previous research has investigated how plants respond to acoustic energy, including music,’ said Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU.
‘However, our work is the first example of how plants respond to an ecologically relevant vibration.
‘We found that “feeding vibrations” signal changes in the plant cells’ metabolism, creating more defensive chemicals that can repel attacks from caterpillars.’
This is not good news for vegetarians. Their whole purpose for eating veggies instead of meat is because it ‘doesn’t kill’ a living thing.
Well according to this scientist plants have ears! If plants can sense they’re being eaten that must mean they have feelings too.
What are the vegetarians going to do now?!
Heidi Appel wasn’t alone in her research study. She conducted this experiment with Rex Cocroft, professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU.
In the study, caterpillars were placed on Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard.
Using a laser and a tiny piece of reflective material on the leaf of the plant, Cocroft was able to measure the movement of the leaf in response to the chewing caterpillar.
Cocroft and Appel then played back recordings of caterpillar feeding vibrations to one set of plants, but played back only silence to the other set of plants.
When caterpillars later fed on both sets of plants, the researchers found that the plants previously exposed to feeding vibrations produced more mustard oils, a chemical that is unappealing to many caterpillars.
There were two different sets of acoustic vibrations occurring. One, the sound of a plant being eaten and two, the sound of wind and other insect noises.
The plants only responded to the sound of being eaten and produced certain oils that made it unattractive for a bug to eat.
‘What is remarkable is that the plants exposed to different vibrations, including those made by a gentle wind or different insect sounds that share some acoustic features with caterpillar feeding vibrations did not increase their chemical defenses,’ Cocroft said.
‘This indicates that the plants are able to distinguish feeding vibrations from other common sources of environmental vibration.’
Research scientist Appel really ruined vegetarians day though when she stated this, ‘This research also opens the window of plant behavior a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different.’
Aren’t you glad you’re a meat eater and don’t have to stress about hurting plants’ feelings?