Scientists have discovered evidence that plants are capable of complex mathematical calculations.
The startling revelation relates to the way in which plants carry out calculations each night in order to ration their stores of starch until the Sun comes up. To do this, they divide the amount of starch by the number of hours left until the morning, thus allowing them to avoid starvation. The find is the first known example of such calculations being conducted in nature without the use of brain cells.
"The capacity to perform arithmetic calculation is vital for plant growth and productivity," said biologist Prof Alison Smith. "The calculations are precise so that plants prevent starvation but also make the most efficient use of their food. If the starch store is used too fast, plants will starve and stop growing during the night. If the store is used too slowly, some of it will be wasted."
"In order to keep themselves going in the absence of sunlight, plants perform division equations throughout the night to ration their stores of starch until the moment the sun reappears."
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