Trees can differentiate between threats, as well. They respond differently to a human breaking off one of its branches than they do to an animal eating at them—with the former, it will try to heal; with the latter, it will try to poison. Plants even share space with one another. In a 2010 study, when four Cakile edentula, or “sea-rocket plants,” were put in the same pot, they shared their resources, moving their roots to accommodate the others. If the plants were just acting evolutionarily, it would follow that they would compete for resources; instead, they seem to be “thinking” of the other plants and “deciding” to help them.Cody Delistraty, “The Intelligence of Plants” at The Paris Review
This is really a riff on the question asked here yesterday: Is a brain really needed for thinking?
Depends on the type of thinking, maybe.
The question is not whether plants are “as smart as smart animals” (no) but whether many plants can use information to the same degree as many animals can (yes). It would make more sense to see that the reason they can is that nature is full of intelligence (not personal intelligences). And that the intelligence clearly did not get there by Darwinian means, as the above example illustrates.
See also: Is a brain really needed for thinking? The “blob,” now on display at the Paris Zoo, forces the question. In addition to the many puzzles we face in understanding the relationship between the immaterial human mind and the material human brain, we are discovering some life forms that can manage “sensory integration, decision-making and now, learning” without a physical brain.
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