Does anyone else out there have a vegan friend? The kind of vegan friend that is SO vegan that the first thing other people may say to describe them is “oh do you mean the vegan girl?” The kind of friend who, although you love them dearly, frankly drives you a bit nuts with their veggie obsession? I mean, let’s be honest, when their only topic of conversation sometimes is how smugly vegan they are, it can get a bit freakin’ annoying.
Well, if you’re a little bit sick and tired of your pro-veggie friend then scientists have got some news that you can unleash upon them when they’re getting a little bit too smug. They’ve discovered that plants can actually hear themselves being eaten. Yep, the plants know when you’re about to take a bite out of them and they probably aren’t happy about it.
Plants can sense when they’re about to be eaten as they pick up on the sounds around them, including sounds of people eating. But not only do they recognise those sounds, they have actually been proven to respond accordingly! Yes, the plants know you’re eating and start to deploy defensive strategies in the hopes that they can keep away from hungry diners. This is less a case of The Hills Have Eyes and more a case of The Carrots Have Ears!
This news has been discovered by Heidi Appel, a senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the Bond Life Sciences Centre at MU. She told The Daily Mail that, “Previous research has investigated how plants respond to acoustic energy, including music. However, our work is the first example of how plants respond to an ecologically relevant vibration.” Put simply, the plants are listening.
But what exactly are the plants responding to when they ‘hear’ us eat? I mean, they don’t exactly have ears. Turns out that it’s all in the not-so-positive vibes. Appel continued, “We found that “feeding vibrations” signal changes in the plant cells’ metabolism, creating more defensive chemicals that can repel attacks from caterpillars.” So maybe the plants would be happier if we put on some Beach Boys tunes and sent a few good vibrations their way!