In PLANTA SAPIENS, Professor Paco Calvo offers a bold new perspective on plant biology and cognitive science. Using the latest scientific findings, Calvo challenges us to make an imaginative leap into a world that is so close and yet so alien – one that will expand our understanding of our own minds.
What is it like to be a plant?
It’s not a question we might think to contemplate, even though many of us live surrounded by plants. Science has long explored the wonderful ways in which plants communicate, behave and shape their environments: from chemical warfare to turning their predators to cannibalism. But they’re usually just the backdrop to our frenetic animal lives.
While plants may not have brains or move around as we do, cutting-edge science is revealing that they have astonishing inner worlds of an alternate kind to ours. They can plan ahead, learn, recognise their relatives, assess risks and make decisions. They can even be put to sleep. Innovative new tools might allow us to actually see them do these things – from electrophysiological recordings to MRI and PET scans. If you can look in the right way, a world full of drama unfurls.