Kevin's Reviews > What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses

What a Plant Knows by Daniel Chamovitz
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Jul 08, 2012

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bookshelves: evolution-biology
Read from March 10 to 29, 2016

Simple explanations on how plants have senses. By revisiting what our senses actually are, versus what we tend to glorify them as, this book argues that plants qualify as being capable of seeing, smelling, etc. Basically, the ability to sense, and react, to different wavelengths qualifies as seeing. An organ dedicated to complex sensing is not necessary. This is how each sense plays out. My favorite, though, is the remembering. Quite a unique thought.

In the end, the author touches on the need to temper our anthropomorphism. Many have gone down the path of trying to recognize the "dignity" of plants, and this only brings ridicule. "A plant's awareness also does not imply that a plant can suffer. A seeing, smelling, feeling plant can no more suffer pain than can a computer with a faulty hard drive."

I see this book more about shedding light on the wonderful variations of evolutionary adaptation then with the specifics of the plants themselves. Good book, well-written, nothing Earth-shattering, wasn't on the edge of my seat, hence three stars.
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