“Try instead to think like them … phytomorphize ourselves”

2013 12 20 GrasshopperSagebrush400

News of plants’ communicative activities continues to be news this month in this week’s front page story at Quanta Magazine republished today on Wired.com. Kat McGowan’s article goes over the history of the plant signalling field, explaining how the science of plant talk, once dismissed as hokey pseudo-research, is now challenging long-held definitions of communication and behavior as the sole province of animals.

“Ian Baldwin, an ecologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, thinks we should try to think like plants rather than anthropomorphize them.” The anti-anthropomorphization message is one critical animal folks will be familiar with; what gets me excited is Baldwin’s casual, juicily unpackable suggestion that we might “phytomorphize ourselves” in the process of our learning about the plant world. Yep, the Plant Intelligence Project is all over that: what would it mean to think ourselves as plant?

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