Are you a vegan or vegetarian who stopped eating meat because you wanted to spare animals’ feelings? While I honestly lift my hat off to your noble actions (no sarcasm here, really), there’s some bad news ahead. A study conducted by the University of Missouri has suggested that plants are able to hear themselves being eaten.
Scientists recorded vibrations and the sounds of a caterpillar chewing on a plant. They then played these recordings back to another plant, and after a few hours the plant released mustard oil – a substance that caterpillars are aversive to.
Senior research scientist Heidi Appel commented on how these findings could benefit agricultural practices, saying “ “Understanding how plants detect and respond to sounds in their environment provides us with new ways to help plants defend themselves against their insect pests.”
Therefore, if they’ve not already caught on, vegetarians and vegans can breathe sighs of relief knowing that only live plants respond to being eaten with defense mechanisms. However, the study also indicates that plants do feel something when being harvested. While you ponder that, watch the video below to help you understand more about the study.