Plants Can Do Math And Know What Time It Is, Scientists Confirm

UK scientists have revealed that plants are able to math, which they then use to help them regulate food reserves at night, according to a new study that has been compiled.

These findings have amazed researchers who were able to locate a sophisticated arithmetic calculation inside a plant’s biology.

It has been revealed that their mathematical models are able to figure out how much starch has been consumed overnight, which is calculated by a process that involves leaf chemicals.

Scientists used the plant, Arabidopsis, to calculate their findings. These professionals — from the John Innes Centre, Norwich — found out that, overnight, the plant can’t use the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into the sugars and starch it needs to survive.

Instead, it regulates its reserves, which ensures that they can last until dawn. In order to complete this task, it must perform a mathematical calculation to work out how much they must use.

Professor Alison Smith, a study leader for the group, told BBC News, “They’re actually doing maths in a simple, chemical way – that’s amazing, it astonished us as scientists to see that. This is pre-GCSE maths they’re doing, but they’re doing maths.”

Prof. Martin Howard of the John Innes Centre, added, “This is the first concrete example in biology of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation.”


Dr. Richard Buggs of Queen Mary, University of London, commented on their findings, adding, “This is not evidence for plant intelligence. It simply suggests that plants have a mechanism designed to automatically regulate how fast they burn carbohydrates at night. Plants don’t do maths voluntarily and with a purpose in mind like we do.”

It is thought that animals, such as birds, use the same technique to calculate their fat reserves when migrating and when they are incubating eggs and are deprived of food for a length of time.

Meanwhile, a study from Rice University has revealed that plants can react to the time of day, even after they have been pulled from their soil. Plants are able to react to the movement of the sun and they increase the production of antioxidants at certain times of the day, which in turn makes them less tasty for insects.

[Image via Perutskyi Petro/Shutterstock]