December 12, 2012

Plants Shoot The Middle Finger At Gravity

Forget what you know about orientation of root growth and chlorophyll, plant life has defied our original theory of their construction. That’s just gangsta.

For the longest time, humans theorized that the direction of plants’ growth was attributed to the idea that they pushed away from gravity’s pull. This painted a rebellious picture in our minds of the DNA development of plants and we always assumed that a plant’s natural motion of growth was a reactive nature of their growth.

On that note, why is it that we personify plants with human features? Obviously personification is the product of a human’s idea of a physical connection to outside lifeforms. But what I mean is the tendency for us to give human attributes to non-human, and sometimes inanimate, objects? Clouds swooning, Earthquakes rocking, and Thunderstorms brewing, etc. It’s as if we’re stuck in that development stage of childhood when the baby first exits the womb and spends the first week of its life in an intense staring contest trying to figure out why the hell the doctor is wearing a blue face mask.

Babies are far more unique than you might think: They are hardwired for language, walking and talking. Personal Identification is probably their strongest suite.

Unless you count pooping.

They’re really good at that.

Babies identify with their adults parents and other people by feeling the facial features and confirming that they possess the same things. They’re trying to paint a picture of who they are. But this is neither here nor there. Here’s the punchline: Astronauts have been experimenting in zero gravity and have discovered that a plant’s natural growth orientation has noting to do with gravity at all!

They assumed that the plants would grow straight upwards and have its roots spread straight out rather than according to how tough the dirt is.

Turns out the plants react in terms of growth on their own time, which is fascinating considering the fact that we consider faceless biological lifeforms rather lifeless in themselves. Take trees for example: We generally don’t think of trees in the same way we think of our nextdoor neighbors.

And then again, my next door neighbors can do a lot more than root to forest beds and bleed sweet sap for bugs and such to get caught in. But as actual free thinking lifeforms, capable of making whatever decision they want in regards to growth and survival. You would forgive me for the ignorance, but I hadn’t yet thought of life in that way.

The worm squirms across the highway in order to feed on insects and bacteria. And all day this worm will move in one singular direction for this simple, yet crucial desire for its survival. But it’s a worm. It doesn’t spend all day communicating with another worm about its day, nor does it indulge in the unnecessary aspects of whether to get the 8 gig iPhone or the 16 gig.

A worm’s life, in our eyes and perception, is relatively simple. So how do we go about understanding a worm? Whether the worm has desires, dreams, even goals beyond its basic needs of life. The plant can deviate from its biological obligation for a single second to decide what direction it wants to grow in, so what’s to say about the discovery of communication methods between plants?

I’m getting ahead of myself, let me know what ya think in the comments!!!

Image Credit: Photos.com

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