4 March, 2020
Scientists Discover That Trees Have A "Heartbeat"
There is a huge number of living things on Earth, all with their own set of characteristics and unique ways of life. All the way from the smallest ants, up to the huge giraffes and elephants, one thing that everyone has in common is that they are alive! One type of living organism is plants and trees. While they may not walk around like other organisms, or have a kidney and liver, they do actually have their own set of organs, so to speak.
The Secret Heartbeat
While a tree definitely doesn't have a heart, the idea that they have their own beat and sense of rhythm isn't as far fetched as many people think. According to a study which was headed by András Zlinszky, Bence Molnár and Anders S. Barfod from Hungary and Denmark, trees do in fact have a special type of beat within them which resembles that of a heartbeat. Who would have known?
To find this hidden heartbeat, the researchers used advanced monitoring techniques known as terrestrial laser scanning to survey the movement of twenty two different types of trees. The results shocked everyone and revealed that at night, while the trees were sleeping, they often had a beat pulsating throughout their body, just as humans, and other living creatures do too.
What is it?
While these pulses aren't an actual heart beating, it does effectively do the same job in keeping rhythm and pumping liquids around the organism. The pulses which the scientists discovered are actually the tree pumping and distributing water around its body, just as a heart pumps blood. It has long been assumed that trees distribute water via osmosis but this new find says otherwise. This could change the way humans see and understand trees forever, so many things could change now. The "heartbeats" themselves were quite slow and steady, with some occurring every few hours. Even so, it's an amazing find that proves nature is far more complex than anyone could have ever imagined.
It wasn't just the heartbeat that the study discovered either, it also revealed that trees move quite a lot during the night, far more than people initially thought. As it turns out, a large number of species dropped their leaves down up to ten centimetres after the sun goes down. When trees do this, it's actually because they're sleeping (another human/animal trait), and they enter their own type of circadian rhythm known as ‘circadian leaf movements', which is incredibly interesting to watch.
Trees and plants are some of the most mysterious
living organisms that harbour so much information and have plenty of secrets
left to give up. Some even say that trees have the ability to cry and feel pain, both of which would change the world if true. There's still so much we need to learn and more studies will hopefully reveal some more answers about the mysterious, yet mesmerising world of plants, and trees.