Prepare to journey into the fascinating world of plants, and have your preconceptions about intelligent life – and the supremacy of humanity – turned upside down. This book is a thought-provoking challenge for everyone: from those who believe that plants are probably intelligent to those who think they could not possibly be.
1. About the book
An astonishing window into the inner world of plants, and the cutting-edge science in plant intelligence.
What is it like to be a plant?
It’s not a question we might think to contemplate, even though many of us live surrounded by plants. Science has long explored the wonderful ways in which plants communicate, behave and shape their environments: from chemical warfare to turning their predators to cannibalism. But they’re nevertheless often just the backdrop to our frenetic animal lives.
While plants may not have brains or move around as we do, cutting-edge science is revealing that they have astonishing inner worlds of an alternate kind to ours. They can plan ahead, learn, recognise their relatives, assess risks and make decisions. Innovative new tools might allow us to actually see them do these things – from electrophysiological recordings to MRI and PET scans. If you can look in the right way, a world full of drama unfurls.
In Planta Sapiens, Professor Paco Calvo offers a bold new perspective on plant biology and cognitive science. Using the latest scientific findings, Calvo challenges us to make an imaginative leap into a world that is so close and yet so alien. It is one that will expand our understanding of our own minds.
From their rich subjective experiences to how they are inspiring novel ways of approaching the ecological crisis, Planta Sapiens is a dazzling exploration of the lives of plants and a call to approach how we think about the natural world in a new, maverick way.
2. About the authors
Paco Calvo is Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Minimal Intelligence Lab (MINT LAB) in the University of Murcia, Spain, where his research is primarily in exploring and experimenting with the possibility of plant intelligence. In his research at MINT LAB, he studies the ecological basis of plant intelligence by conducting experimental studies at the intersection of plant neurobiology and ecological psychology. He has given many talks on the topic of plant intelligence to academic and non-academic audiences around the world during the last decade.
Natalie Lawrence is a writer and illustrator with a PhD and MSc in the History and Philosophy of Science and a MCantab in Zoology from the University of Cambridge. Her work has appeared in BBC Wildlife, Aeon Magazine and Public Domain Review. She has been a TEDX Speaker and appeared on BBC Woman’s Hour.