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Stefano Mancuso 談植物根部的智慧

Stefano Mancuso: The roots of plant intelligence

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Stefano Mancuso

2010年7月演講,2010年10月在TEDGlobal上線

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:劉契良

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

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閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

植物有一些超奇特且具智慧的行為:與天敵抗爭、使獲取食物的機會最大化…但我們可以就此認為它們確實擁有獨立的智慧形式嗎?義大利植物學家Stefano Mancuso提出了耐人尋味的證據。

 

關於Stefano Mancuso

Stefano Mancuso是植物神經生物學研究的創始者,這門學問是從遺傳學到分子、細胞和生態群落各方面,探討各層級生物組織中的信號和通訊。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

你每天早晨盡心噴水的波士頓腎蕨是否感激你的照料?或你家附近公園中枝繁葉茂的橡樹會因為孩子爬在它多節的枝幹上而感到不快嗎?義大利研究員Stefano Mancuso說,不太可能;但這並不意味著,同樣這類生物有機體無法進行令人不可思議的精巧及動態形式的感知和通訊。

 

Mancuso在位於佛羅倫斯附近的實驗室和他的團隊探索植物如何通訊,或彼此發射「信號」。植物使用複雜的內部分析系統,用以找尋營養物質、傳播物種、甚至保衛自己以對抗天敵。他們的研究進一步把我們視植物為簡單有機體的觀點,轉變成將其視為複雜的生態結構和群落。植物可以收集、處理信息,最不可思議的是,它們可以彼此分享重要信息。

 

「為了命名實驗室,Mancuso於2004年決定使用具爭議性的術語『植物神經生物學』,以強調植物擁有類似人類神經系統的生物化學、細胞生物學和電生理學這個概念。」

-Nicole Martinelli,Wired.com

 

Stefano Mancuso的英語網上資料

首頁:linv.org

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Stefano Mancuso 談植物根部的智慧

 

不久前我翻了一本很舊的雜誌,發現這個關於諾亞方舟故事的觀察檢視。繪製這個觀察檢視的藝術家犯了一些謬誤,其中有差不多有12個錯誤之處。有些錯誤是顯而易見的,像是煙囪、天線、燈、以及方舟上的發條裝置,一些是關於動物以及數量。但在整個方舟故事中,有個相當根本性的錯誤未被提及。問題在於:植物在哪?現在,我們的上帝將使地球永遠被淹沒,或至少淹沒很長一段時間,而沒人關心植物的問題。諾亞需要將毎種鳥類、每種動物、以及每種會動的生物都帶上一對,但沒有提到關於植物的部分。為什麼?同樣在這個故事的另一部分,所有從方舟上出來的只有生物,像是鳥類、牲畜和野生動物,植物不在這些生物當中,這就是重點。這個問題並非來自於聖經,而是某種一直伴隨著人類的東西。

 

我們來看看這部很棒的法典,這是來自於文藝復興時期的書。我們可以看到這個自然界層級的圖。這是一個不錯的圖,因為從左邊開始是石頭,石頭之後隨之就是植物;它們只是能活著,我們動物則能夠存活和感覺。在金字塔頂端的是人類,不是一般的人類,是「智人」,有學習能力的人。對像我這樣的人來說,這相當令人欣慰。我是一個教授,在天地萬物的頂端,但這是完全錯誤的看法。你們對教授所知甚詳,但對植物的看法也是錯的。因為植物不僅能夠生存,也能夠感覺。它們的感覺比動物精密得多,給你們看個例子。每一個根尖,都能同時且持續的偵測和監測至少15種不同的化學和物理參數,它們還能夠顯示和展示出這樣神奇和複雜的行為,可用聰明絕頂這個字眼來形容。嗯,但這是某種-這種對植物的低估,是一直伴隨著我們的觀念。

 

我們來看這短短的影片。可以看到David Attenborough,David Attenborough是一個真正的植物愛好者,他拍攝了一些關於植物行為最美麗的影片。當他談到植物,一切都是正確的;當他談到動物,往往會忽略植物存在這個事實。藍鯨是地球上最大的動物,這是不對的,大錯特錯。如果相較於正牌的、存在於地球上最大的生物,藍鯨根本是一個侏儒。它就是這個奇妙、宏偉的巨杉。(掌聲)這是一個活的有機體,至少有2000噸重。這個說法,說植物是某種低層級的有機體,已在很久以前,在《論靈魂》一書中被亞里斯多德形式化了。這是一本對西方文明非常有影響力的書,書中寫道,植物是介於生物和非生物臨界點之間的物種,它們只是一種非常低層級的靈魂,稱之為植物性靈魂。因為它們不會運動,所以它們不需要感覺。我們來看看。

 

Okay,有些植物的運動是眾所周知的,這是一個非常快速的運動。這是一株 Dionaea,即捕蠅草,正狩獵著蝸牛;可憐的蝸牛。這是幾世紀以來一直被拒絕承認的現象,儘管證據就在眼前。沒人會說植物能夠吃掉動物,因為這是違反自然層級的。但植物也能展現出很多運動情形。有些是眾所周知的,像開花,這只不過是使用一些技巧的問題,如慢速拍攝。其中有些運動則複雜得多。看看這個小豆苗,總是在移動以捕捉光線,真是非常優雅,就像一個跳著舞的天使。它們還能夠玩耍,它們真的是在玩耍。這些是向日葵幼苗,它們正在做什麼?除了玩耍這個字眼以外,很難有更好的形容了。它們正在自我訓練,像許多年幼動物一樣,為成年生活而訓練,它們接收到追蹤太陽的指示,整天均是如此。當然,它們能對重力做出反應,所以嫩芽對抗重力向量生長,根則是順著重力向量生長。但它也能睡覺。這是一株含羞草,在夜間,它們將葉子蜷曲起來並減少運動。在白天,它們的葉子就會開放,並有更大程度的運動。這是有趣的,因為這個睡眠機制是完美守恆的。在植物、昆蟲身上相同,在動物身上也是。所以,如果你需要研究這個睡眠問題,與動物相比較的話,對植物進行研究很容易,甚至在道德上來說也容易多了;這是一種素食實驗。

 

植物甚至可以通訊;它們是卓越的通訊者,與其他植物通訊,能夠區分同類和非同類。它們與植物和其他物種通訊,也藉由產生揮發性化學物質與動物通訊。例如在進行授粉作用時。談到授粉,其對植物來說是一件非常重要的事,因為它們需將花粉從一朵花移到另一朵花,但它們無法從一朵花移動到另一朵花,因此需要一個媒介。這個媒介通常是動物,許多昆蟲被植物當作媒介,作為授粉的運輸工具。但不只是昆蟲,甚至鳥類、爬行動物,還有像老鼠、蝙蝠等哺乳動物,都常用於花粉的傳播,這是一件重要的事。植物給予動物一種甜性物質,非常有激發效果,來交換這種花粉的傳播。但有些植物可以操縱動物,如蘭花;承諾給予性和花蜜,事實上卻沒有交換任何東西,即達成花粉的傳播。

 

現在,在這一切我們所目睹的行為背後,有個很大的疑問;沒有大腦怎麼可能做到這一切?直到1880年,這個偉大的人-查爾斯.達爾文出版了一本精彩且驚人的書,開啟了一場革命,書名是《植物運動的力量》。在達爾文之前,沒有任何人能夠談論植物的運動。他的書由兒子佛朗西斯協助,他是世上第一個植物生理學教授,任教於劍橋。他們在長達500頁的篇幅中討論植物每一個動作。書中最後一章,這是一種標誌性的文章格式,因為達爾文通常在書中最後一章放上最重要的信息。他寫道,「這麼說毫不誇張;胚根尖端作用就像一個低層級動物的大腦。」這不是比喻,他寫了一些非常有趣的信給他一位朋友虎克,他是當時英國皇家學會主席。因此,英國最高科學權威談論了植物的大腦。

 

這是一個在斜坡上逆向生長的根尖,你可以辨認出這種運動;跟蟲、蛇同樣的動作,也和每一種在地面上移動的無腳動物顯現出的相同。這不是個容易的動作,因為要做到這種運動,必須在沒有大腦的情況下移動根的不同區域,並使這些不同區域同步動作。因此我們研究了根尖。我們發現有一個特定區域,就是這裡,塗成藍色的區域,我們稱它為過渡地帶。這個區域是個非常小的區域,不到一毫米。在這個小區域中,消耗了最高量的植物中氧氣,更重要的是會產生這種信號。這裡所看到的信號是行動位能,這個信號相同於我大腦中的神經元,我們大腦用它來交換信息。現在我們知道,一個根尖只有幾百個細胞能顯現出這種功能,但我們知道一個小植物的根尖有多大。像黑麥,幾乎有1400萬條根,1150萬個根尖,總長度為 600公里以上,還有非常大的表面積。

 

我們想像一下,每單一根尖在一個網路中與所有其他根尖一起合作。左圖是網際網路,右圖是根的組織,它們以同樣方式運作,它們是一個在網路中運作的小計算機網路。它們為什麼如此相似?因為它們進化有著相同的原因。為了生存捕食,它們以同樣方式運作。所以你可以移除百分之九十的根組織,這株植物會繼續運作;你可以移除百分之九十的網際網路,它依然可以繼續運作。因此,給網路工作者一個建議,關於如何發展網路,植物能夠給你很好的建議。

 

另一種是技術上的可能性。讓我們想像,我們可以建造靈感來自於植物的機器人。針對生產機器人方面來看,到目前為止,人的靈感只來自於人或動物。我們有仿動物機器人(animaloid),一般機器人的靈感來自於動物、昆蟲等。我們有仿生機器人(androids),是以人為靈感。但為什麼我們沒有仿植物機器人(plantoid)?嗯,如果你想飛,觀察鳥類很有用,以鳥類為靈感。但如果你想探索土壤,或者如果你想開拓新領土,你能做到最好的就是以植物為靈感,它們在這方面是專家。還有另一種可能性正在我們實驗室進行,就是製造半機器。這樣製造半機器容易多了。半機器意味著某種東西,一半是生物,另一半是機器,與動物相較之下,用植物來做容易多了。它們有計算機的能力、有電子信號、與機器間的連接更加容易,甚至可能道德得多。這是我們正努力進行中的三種可能性;製造由藻類驅動、或最終由葉子、由植物最強大的部分,即根驅動的半機器。

 

嗯,謝謝你們認真聽我演講,在結束之前,我保證在這次演示中沒有蝸牛受到傷害。

 

謝謝。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

Plants behave in some oddly intelligent ways: fighting predators, maximizing food opportunities ... But can we think of them as actually having a form of intelligence of their own? Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso presents intriguing evidence.

About Stefano Mancuso

Stefano Mancuso is a founder of the study of plant neurobiology, which explores signaling and communication at all levels of biological organization, from genetics to molecules, cells and ecological… Full bio and more links

Transcript

Sometimes I go browsing [through] a very old magazine. I found this observation test about the story of the ark. And the artist that drew this observation test did some errors, had some mistakes. There are more or less 12 mistakes. Some of them are very easy. There is a funnel, an aerial part, a lamp and clockwork key on the ark. Some of them are about the animals, the number. But there is a much fundamental mistake in the overall story of the ark that's not reported here. And this problem is: where are the plants? So now we have God that is going to submerge Earth permanently, or at least for a very long period, and no one is taking care of plants. Noah needed to take two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal, of every kind of creature that moves, but no mention about plants. Why? In another part of the same story, all the living creatures are just the living creatures that came out from the ark, so birds, livestock and wild animals. Plants are not living creatures. This is the point. That is a point that is not coming out from the Bible, but it's something that has always accompanied humanity.

Let's have a look at this nice code that is coming from a Renaissance book. Here we have the description of the order of nature. It's a nice description because it's starting from left -- you have the stones -- immediately after the stones, the plants that are just able to live. We have the animals that are able to live and to sense, and, on the top of the pyramid, there is the man. This is not the common man. The "Homo studiosus" -- the studying man. This is quite comforting for people like me -- I'm a professor -- this to be over there on the top of creation. But it's something completely wrong. You know very well about professors. But it's also wrong about plants, because plants are not just able to live; they are able to sense. They are much more sophisticated in sensing than animals. Just to give you an example, every single root apex is able to detect and to monitor concurrently and continuously at least 15 different chemical and physical parameters. And they also are able to show and to exhibit such a wonderful and complex behavior that can be described just with the term of intelligence. Well, but this is something -- this underestimation of plants is something that is always with us.

Let's have a look at this short movie now. We have David Attenborough. David Attenborough is really a plant lover. He did some of the most beautiful movies about plant behavior. Now, when he speaks about plants, everything is correct. When he speaks about animals, [he] tends to remove the fact that plants exist. The blue whale, the biggest creature that exists on the planet. That is wrong, completely wrong. The blue whale, it's a dwarf if compared with the real biggest creature that exists on the planet -- that is, this wonderful, magnificent Sequoiadendron giganteum. (Applause) And this is a living organism that has a mass of at least 2,000 tons. Now, the story that plants are some low-level organisms has been formalized many times ago by Aristotle, that in "De Anima" -- that is a very influential book for Western civilization -- wrote that the plants are on the edge between living and not living. They have just a kind of very low-level soul. It's called the vegetative soul, because they lack movement, and so they don't need to sense. Let's see.

Okay, some of the movements of the plants are very well-known. This is a very fast movement. This is a Dionaea, a Venus fly trap hunting snails. Sorry for the snail. This has been something that has been refused for centuries, despite the evidence. No one could say that the plants were able to eat an animal, because it was against the order of nature. But plants are also able to show a lot of movement. Some of them are very well known, like the flowering. It's just a question to use some techniques like the time lapse. Some of them are much more sophisticated. Look at this young bean that is moving to catch the light every time. And it's really so graceful. It's like a dancing angel. They are also able to play. They are really playing. These are young sunflowers, and what they are doing cannot be described with any other terms than playing. They are training themselves, as many young animals do, to the adult life, where they will be called to track the sun all the day. They are able to respond to gravity, of course, so the shoots are growing against the vector of gravity and the roots toward the vector of gravity. But they are also able to sleep. This is one Mimosa pudica. So during the night, they curl the leaves and reduce the movement, and during the day, you have the opening of the leaves -- there is much more movement. This is interesting because, this sleeping machinery, it's perfectly conserved. It's the same in plants, in insects and in animals. And so if you need to study this sleeping problem, it's easy to study on plants, for example, than in animals, and it's much more easy even ethically. It's a kind of vegetarian experimentation.

Plants are even able to communicate. They are extraordinary communicators. They communicate with other plants. They are able to distinguish kin and non-kin. They communicate with plants and other species, and they communicate with animals by producing chemical volatiles, for example, during the pollination. Now with the pollination, it's a very serious issue for plants, because they move the pollen from one flower to the other, yet they can not move from one flower to the other. So they need a vector, and this vector, it's normally an animal. Many insects have been used by plants as vectors for the transport of the pollination, but not just insects; even birds, reptiles, and mammals like bats rats are normally used for the transportation of the pollen. This is a serious business. We have the plants that are giving to the animals a kind of sweet substance -- very energizing -- having in change this transportation of the pollen. But some plants are manipulating animals, like in the case of orchids that promise sex and nectar and give in change nothing for the transportation of the pollen.

Now, there is a big problem behind all this behavior that we have seen. How is it possible to do this without a brain? We need to wait until 1880, when this big man, Charles Darwin, publishes a wonderful, astonishing book that starts a revolution. The title is "The Power of Movement in Plants." No one was allowed to speak about movement in plants before Charles Darwin. In his book, assisted by his son, Francis -- who was the first professor of plant physiology in the world, in Cambridge -- they took into consideration every single movement for 500 pages. And in the last paragraph of the book, it's a kind of stylistic mark, because normally Charles Darwin stored, in the last paragraph of a book, the most important message. He wrote that, "It's hardly an exaggeration to say that the tip of the radicle acts like the brain of one of the lower animals." This is not a metaphor. He wrote some very interesting letters to one of his friends who was J.D. Hooker, or, at that time, president of the Royal Society, so the maximum scientific authority in Britain speaking about the brain in the plants.

Now, this is a root apex growing against a slope. So you can recognize this kind of movement, the same movement that worms, snakes and every animal that [is] moving on the ground without legs is able to display. And it's not an easy movement, because, to have this kind of movement, you need to move different regions of the root and to synchronize these different regions without having a brain. So we studied the root apex, and we found that there is a specific region that is here, depicted in blue -- let's call it a transition zone. And this region, it's a very small region. It's less than one millimeter. And in this small region you have the highest consumption of oxygen in the plants, and more important, you have these kinds of signals here. The signals that you are seeing here are action potential, are the same signals that the neurons of my brain, of our brain, use to exchange information. Now we know that a root apex has just a few hundred cells that show this kind of feature, but we know how big the root apex of a small plant [is], like a plant of rye. We have almost 14 million roots. We have 11 and a half million root apex and a total length of 600 or more kilometers and a very high surface area.

Now let's imagine that each single root apex is working in network with all the others. Here were have, on the left, the internet and on the right, the root apparatus. They work in the same way. They are a network of small computing machines, working in networks. And why are they so similar? Because they evolved for the same reason: to survive predation. They work in the same way. So you can remove 90 percent of the root apparatus and the plants [continue] to work. You can remove 90 percent of the Internet and it is [continuing] to work. So, a suggestion for the people working with networks: plants are able to give you good suggestions about how to evolve networks.

And another possibility is a technological possibility. Let's imagine that we can build robots and robots that are inspired by plants. Until now, Man was inspired just by Man or the animals in producing a robot. We have the animaloid -- the normal robots inspired by animals, insectoid, so on. We have the androids that are inspired by Man. But why have we not any plantoid? Well, if you want to fly, it's good that you look at birds, to be inspired by birds. But if you want to explore soils, or if you want to colonize new territory, to best thing that you can do is to be inspired by plants that are masters in doing this. We have another possibility we are working [on] in our lab, [which] is to build hybrids. It's much more easy to build hybrids. Hybrid means it's something that's half living and half machine. It's much more easy to work with plants than with animals. They have computing power. They have electrical signals. The connection with the machine is much more easy, much more even ethically possible. And these are three possibilities that we are working on to build hybrids, driven by algae or by the leaves at the end, by the most most powerful parts of the plants, by the roots.

Well, thank you for your attention. And before I finish, I would like to reassure that no snails were harmed in making this presentation. Thank you.

(Applause)
 


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驗證碼請輸入8 + 6 =

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有關本課程的討論

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「蝸牛」建議改為「蛞蝓」。

Anonymous, 2014-10-01 07:50:15
课程讨论
植物很有趣。
月球上的人, 2011-06-13 12:51:16

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