stefano mancuso, standing up for plants

Plants are way smarter than humans give them credit for being…

Here’s a cool, thoughtful video from the very cool TED program that I was first pointed out to me courtesy of a link sent out by International Carnivorous Plant Society. (Yes, there are a couple shots of a Venus flytrap.)

You can select subtitling into any of ten languages in case you’d like to catch every word Stefano Mancuso, one of the founders of plant neurobiology, has to say. Part of his message: Genesis got it all wrong, but then so did Aristotle.

(An aside: I’ve written at least once about pronouncing scientific Latin names. Listen to how Mancuso pronounces the Latin name of California’s own giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum at the 3:51 mark. If there’s any country that can lay claim to even begin to pronounce Latin correctly it’s gotta be Italy, and the way the name comes out sounding has almost nothing to do with how I’m used to hearing it. Of course the word “Sequoia” originates on this side of the pond, so this is a puzzle with no real answer–the most interesting kind!)

4 thoughts on “stefano mancuso, standing up for plants”

  1. What a great presentation! Thanks so much. Of course the robots that are part plant are a bit creepy, but nontheless.

    As for the pronounciation, in many languages the letters have fairly fixed sound values. Stephano is just using those values when saying Sequoia. Giganteum, on the other hand, has the sound to which “g” evolved in Italian, but has otherwise the sound values that are now in Italian & Spanish and were in Latin. American botanical Latin and, for all that, anatomical Latin, totally cracks me up. Say “biceps femoris” and have me rolling on the floor…;->

  2. Wow! I can see myself lost for hours in TED. What a fabulous presentation. I read “The Secret Lives of Plants” many years ago that claimed plants have an intelligence we don’t understand and I’ve believed this ever since. It’s neat to hear this argument again. Though I’d prefer that if mankind were to finally recognize the sophistication of plants that we would have more respect for all LIVING things, rather than simply to find technological ways to exploit them. I do, however, believe seeking alternative energy technologies to fuel our world from the wonders of the plant world is the way to go.

  3. Wow – the great continuum. Wonderful talk. This is really odd because I was just wondering what happiness for a plant would be. I loved where he showed the root searching its way along the surface. I’m imagining the rooty consciousness of the network.

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