Do trees have brains and talk to each other? They are intelligent, express emotions and make friends, claims a new book. Barking? Judge for yourself
- Some research claims trees are able to communicate with each other
- Forester Peter Wohlleben believes they are able to transmit information
- Scientists are starting to ask whether trees possess intelligence and brains
There’s increasing evidence to show that trees are able to communicate with each other. More than that, trees can learn.
If that’s true — and my experience as a forester convinces me it is — then they must be able to store and transmit information.
And scientists are beginning to ask: is it possible that trees possess intelligence, and memories, and emotions? So, to cut to the quick, do trees have brains?
It sounds incredible, but when you discover how trees talk to each other, feel pain, nurture each other, even care for their close relatives and organize themselves into communities, it’s hard to be skeptical.
I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, when I began as a civil servant with the German forestry commission in the Eighties, I knew next to nothing about the hidden life of trees.
It was my job to look at hundreds of spruces, beeches, oaks and pines every day, to assess their readiness for the lumber mill and their market value.
About 20 years ago, while organizing survival training and log cabin breaks for tourists, I began to rediscover the love of nature I’d had as a six-year-old.
Next, I noticed that visitors were enchanted by crooked, gnarled trees — ones that I would have dismissed because of their low commercial value.
I began to pay attention to more than just the quality of the trunks. I noticed bizarre roots, strangely intertwined branches, mossy cushions on bark . . . all kinds of wonders. Including, unbelievably, evidence of tree friendships.
In the forest that I manage (near the village of Hümmel, east of the Belgian border), I stumbled on a ring of mossy stones, arranged in a circle about five feet across. They were an unusual shape, gently curved with hollowed-out areas.
Scratching at the moss with a knife, I discovered a layer of bark — these were pieces of wood, not stone. But they were hard as rock, and at first I couldn’t understand why they were not decomposing, until I tried to move one . . . and discovered it was rooted into the ground, still alive.
What I’d found was the remains of a tree stump, the vestiges of an ancient forest giant. The moss-covered ‘stones’ had grown where the outer ring had been, and the interior had long rotted away completely. This tree must have been felled at least 400 years ago, perhaps much more, but it was not completely dead.
It had no leaves, however. Without leaves, a tree cannot absorb nourishment from the sunlight.
Living cells must have food in the form of sugar, and they must breathe. The roots of the stump ought to have suffocated and starved to death long ago.
One possible answer existed. The other beeches around the stump had been pumping sugar into it for centuries to keep it alive, through their tangled roots.
Most individual trees of the same species growing in the same copse or stand will be connected through their root systems. It appears that helping neighbours in times of need is the rule, which leads to the conclusion that forests are super-organisms, much like ant colonies.
But the support they give each other is not random. Research by Professor Massimo Maffei at the University of Turin shows trees can distinguish the roots of their own species from other plants, and even pick out their own relations from other trees. Some are so tightly connected at the roots that they even die together, like a devoted married couple.
Diseased or hungry individuals can be identified, supported and nourished until they recover.
When the thick silver-grey beeches in my forest behave like this, they remind me of a herd of elephants. Like the herd, they look after their own, helping the sick and the weak back onto their feet.
And as those mossy wooden ‘stones’ revealed, they are even reluctant, like elephants, to abandon their dead. Of course, this cannot be done for every stump. Most rot and disappear within a couple of hundred years — which is not very long for a tree. But a few are maintained on life support for centuries. It appears to be the closeness of connection, or even affection, that determines how helpful the other trees will be.
It seems many species do this. I have observed oak, fir and spruce stumps as well as beeches that have survived long after the tree was felled. But it’s not just silent support that trees offer each other.
Dr Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver has discovered that they can also send warnings using chemical signals and electrical impulses through the fungal networks that stretch under the soil between sets of roots — networks known as the ‘wood wide web’.
These fungi operate like fibre-optic internet cables. Their thin filaments penetrate the earth, weaving through it in almost unbelievable density. One teaspoon of forest soil contains many miles of these tendrils.
Over centuries, if left undisturbed, a single fungus can cover many square miles and create a network throughout an entire forest. Through these links, trees can send signals about insects, drought and other dangers.
News bulletins are transmitted by chemical compounds and also by electricity, traveling at an inch every three seconds.
In comparison with the lightning impulses in mammal bodies, that is extremely slow. But there are species, such as jellyfish and worms, whose nervous systems conduct impulses at similar speeds.
This might help to explain how swarms of insect pests are able to identify trees becoming weak. It’s conceivable that some caterpillars and beetles tune in to the warnings flowing from tree to tree, then test which individuals are failing to pass on the message, by taking a bite of their leaves or bark.
A tree’s silence might indicate that it is cut off from the fungal network, perhaps because it has lost its ability to communicate, and so is unable to prepare for attack or call for help. So not only do trees talk, insects eavesdrop.
Communication between trees and insects isn’t all about defense and illness. There are also the feelgood messages, the perfumed invitations issued by sweet smelling blossom.
These lovely scents are not to please us but to attract bees, which come for the sugar-rich nectar and take away a dusting of pollen, to fertilize other trees.
And it’s not just the smells: blossoms are vivid, gaudy splashes of color. So trees are using displays of erotic perfume and dazzling adornment for sexual purposes — just like many animals and birds.
There’s one more way that animals communicate, through sound. I was dubious at first that trees could deliberately make noises, but the latest scientific research is persuading me otherwise.
Dr Monica Gagliano from the University of Western Australia has been monitoring roots with highly sensitive apparatus, and believes they crackle at a frequency of 220 hertz, which the human ear hears as a low A note.
When this note was played back to seedlings, their roots tilted towards the sound. It appears they could hear it, and were responding.
You might wonder, if trees can talk to each other in so many ways, what they have to discuss.
Among beech trees, at any rate, the conversation might be about when to feed the deer.
Deer are extremely partial to beechnuts, which help them put on a protective layer of fat for winter.
The nuts contain up to 50 per cent oil and starch, making them more nutritious than any other food source. And trees make a lot of them — every beech produces at least 30,000 nuts in a year. It has to, because the odds of a beechnut growing into an adult tree are nearly two million to one. Do the maths: a beech isn’t sexually mature until it’s between 80 and 150 years old, depending on how much light it gets while growing.
Assuming it lives to be 400, it will fruit at least 60 times and produce a total of about 1.8m nuts . . . the minimum number it needs to be sure of spawning one new tree.
But why produce nuts only 60 times in 400 years? Why not every year? The answer is that the trees don’t want to overfeed the deer, because big, hungry herds will strip the forest bare.
No sapling will stand a chance if the deer population explodes.
So the trees must co-operate, to ensure that they all withhold their nuts for several years at a time, and then simultaneously come into fruit together. The deer will have a feast, it’s true, but the herds won’t be able to rely on an annual bounty. Early human farmers spotted this
thousands of years ago. Like the deer, wild pigs gorge on beechnuts, too. Their bodies adapt so their birth rate triples, because they’re getting enough nutrition for big litters of piglets. When the nuts arrive and the boars get fat, it’s known as a ‘mast’ year.
The farmers would release their domestic pigs into forests during mast years.
The porkers gobbled the beech nuts, piled on plenty of meat, and had lots of chubby piglets. Then the farmers would round them up, and there’d be pork on the table throughout winter.
If you think that needs clever communication, think about how umbrella thorn acacias on the African savannah defend themselves against giraffes.
When they start picking at foliage, the acacias begin pumping foul-tasting toxins into the leaves to deter them. It happens in minutes, which for a tree is instantaneous. The giraffes get the message and move on.
But they don’t go to the next acacia. They wander at least 100 yards before trying their luck again. The reason is astonishing. As they come under attack, the acacias give off a warning gas called ethylene that signals a crisis to neighboring trees.
That triggers other acacias to dump toxins into their own leaves, as a defensive measure.
And the giraffes have learned that when one tree tastes bad, others in the vicinity will, too.
The exception is when the wind picks up and only trees downwind detect the ethylene in the air, and react. Giraffes know it too, and head upwind.
Elms and pines use a different tactic. When an insect eats a leaf, electrical signals travel from the damaged area to the roots — just as human tissue sends pain signals along the nervous system.
It takes at least an hour for the roots to react and unleash the defenses, by flowing bitter compounds into the leaf to send the attacker packing. But something even more amazing is also happening: the tree identifies the attacker by its saliva. Armed with this, the tree releases phero-mones to summon specific predators, to prey on the insects. For example, elms and pines call on parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside leaf-eating caterpillars, condemning them to slow, painful deaths. Trees are prepared to wait for revenge.
The main reason humans cannot perceive how clever and complex they are is because we exist in such short time scales by comparison. There’s a tree in Sweden for instance, a spruce, that is more than 9,500 years old. That’s 115 times longer than the average human lifespan.
A tree’s childhood lasts ten times as long as ours. Activities that take us moments — waking up or stretching our limbs, can last months for a tree.
It’s hardly surprising that most of us see trees as practically inanimate, nothing more than objects. But the truth is very different. They are just as intensely alive as we are . . . and for much, much longer.
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Mother’s genes go directly to the cerebral cortex, those of the father to the limbic system
New studies, new lights
Genetics is not the only responsible
Can we really talk about hereditary intelligence?
Psychology Spot ~ 3:47 PM
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Many Native American tribes from the Northeast and Southwest still relate the legends of the red-haired giants and how their ancestors fought terrible, protracted wars against the giants when they first encountered them in North America almost 15,000 years ago.
Others, like the Aztecs and Mayans recorded their encounters with a race of giants to the north when they ventured out on exploratory expeditions.
Who were these red-haired giants that history books have ignored? Their burial sites and remains have been discovered on almost every continent.
In the United States they have been unearthed in Virginia and New York state, Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee, Arizona and Nevada.
And it’s the state of Nevada that the story of the native Paiute’s wars against the giant red-haired men transformed from a local myth to a scientific reality during 1924 when the Lovelock Caves were excavated.
At one time the Lovelock Cave was known as Horseshoe cave because of its U-shaped interior. The cavern—located about 20 miles south of modern day Lovelock, Nevada, is approximately 40-feet deep and 60-feet wide.
It’s a very old cave that pre-dates humans on this continent. In prehistoric times it lay underneath a giant inland lake called Lahontan that covered much of western Nevada. Geologists have determined the cavern was formed by the lake’s currents and wave action.
The Paiutes, a Native-American tribe indigenous to parts of Nevada, Utah and Arizona, told early white settlers about their ancestors’ battles with a ferocious race of white, red-haired giants. According to the Paiutes, the giants were already living in the area.
The Paiutes named the giants “Si-Te-Cah” that literally means “tule-eaters.” The tule is a fibrous water plant the giants wove into rafts to escape the Paiutes continuous attacks. They used the rafts to navigate across what remained of Lake Lahontan.
According to the Paiutes, the red-haired giants stood as tall as 12-feet and were a vicious, unapproachable people that killed and ate captured Paiutes as food.<
The Paiutes told the early settlers that after many years of warfare, all the tribes in the area finally joined together to rid themselves of the giants.
One day as they chased down the few remaining red-haired enemy, the fleeing giants took refuge in a cave. The tribal warriors demanded their enemy come out and fight, but the giants steadfastly refused to leave their sanctuary.
Frustrated at not defeating their enemy with honor, the tribal chiefs had warriors fill the entrance to the cavern with brush and then set it on fire in a bid to force the giants out of the cave.
The few that did emerge were instantly slain with volleys of arrows. The giants that remained inside the cavern were asphyxiated.
Later, an earthquake rocked the region and the cave entrance collapsed leaving only enough room for bats to enter it and make it their home.
Thousands of years later the cave was rediscovered and found to be loaded with bat guano almost 6-feet deep. Decaying bat guano becomes saltpeter, the chief ingredient of gunpowder, and was very valuable.
Therefore, in 1911 a company was created specifically to mine the guano. As the mining operation progressed, skeletons and fossils were found.
The guano was mined for almost 13 years before archaeologists were notified about the findings. Unfortunately, by then many of the artifacts had been accidentally destroyed or simply discarded.
Nevertheless, what the scientific researchers did recover was staggering: over 10,000 artifacts were unearthed including the mummified remains of two red-haired giants—one, a female 6.5-feet tall, the other male, over 8-feet tall.
Many of the artifacts (but not the giants) can be viewed at the small natural history museum located in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Confirmation of the myth
As the excavation of the cave progressed, the archaeologists came to the inescapable conclusion that the Paiutes myth was no myth; it was true.
What led them to this realization was the discovery of many broken arrows that had been shot into the cave and a dark layer of burned material under sections of the overlaying guano.
Among the thousands of artifacts recovered from this site of an unknown people is what some scientists are convinced is a calendar: a donut-shaped stone with exactly 365 notches carved along its outside rim and 52 corresponding notches along the inside.
But that was not to be the final chapter of red-haired giants in Nevada.
In February and June of 1931, two very large skeletons were found in the Humboldt dry lake bed near Lovelock, Nevada.
One of the skeletons measured 8.5-feet tall and was later described as having been wrapped in a gum-covered fabric similar to Egyptian mummies. The other was nearly 10-feet long. [Nevada Review-Miner newspaper, June 19, 1931.]
Indian confronts the red-haired giants (artist’s conception)
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A new report prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) circulating in the Kremlin today shockingly states that the Obama regime is remaining “completely silent” on the polio outbreak currently sweeping through the American heartland and has, to date, refused to share their data on this feared enterovirus epidemic with other global experts and scientists.
According to this report, nearly 2,000 American children in the US States of Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Georgia have been struck down by the polio enterovirus in the past month, with Denver’s Children’s Hospital alone stating that they have treated more than 900 children for this disease since 18 August with 86 admitted to hospital.
To the rapid spread of this outbreak, this report continues, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University, stated this past week that “I don’t believe we’ve ever had an outbreak this extensive before” and Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, a director for infectious diseases at Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital, where about 475 children were recently treated, likewise last week warned, “It’s worse in terms of scope of critically ill children who require intensive care. I would call it unprecedented. I’ve practiced for 30 years in pediatrics, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this”.
Even though this report does note that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified Enterovirus EV-D68 as being the disease infecting these children, it has failed to inform the American public that of the 66 human enterovirus known, this particular one is most associated with the Poliovirus and the cause of the dreaded Poliomyelitis, which is often called polio or infantile paralysis.
Most dangerous about this polio enterovirus currently striking American children down, this report says, is its high mutation rate (takes over DNA makes copies of itself) due to low-fidelity replication (lots of variation possible when the virus is in the body reproducing itself) and frequent recombination (rapidly mutates preventing the body from defending itself) all which prevent the development of an effective vaccine.
Most critical to be asked of the Obama regime relating to this current polio outbreak, this report continues, are why quarantine measures were not undertaken by the US this past February when 25 children in California where struck down and paralyzed by this disease before it could spread into the American heartland?
In outlining the history of this dreaded enterovirus, MNRE scientists grimly note in this report that the “historical similarities” between this current American outbreak and that of the early 20th century are “highly alarming” in that they both had their genesis in the wine and vegetable agricultural regions of California.
Among the earliest polio outbreaks last century were three California clusters – in the agricultural epicenter of the San Joaquin Valley; the San Francisco area; and San Francisco and the wine-growing Napa Valley, locales under intensive commercial farming and early use of the pesticide Lead Hydrogen Arsenate (LHA) in fruits and vegetables and where this pesticide was believed to have caused damage that allowed the polio enterovirus to penetrate the nervous system and reach the spinal cord, where it caused the paralysis called poliomyelitis.
Critical to note, this report says, were that major polio epidemics were unknown before the 20th century and localized paralytic polio epidemics only began to appear in Europe and the US around 1900 with the expanding use of the LHA pesticide in crop production.
The first report of multiple polio cases was published in the US in 1843 and described an 1841 outbreak in Louisiana, this report continues, after which a fifty-year gap occurs before the next US report—a cluster of 26 cases in Boston in 1893 which “coincidentally” occurred as massive amounts of LHA pesticides were used for controlling cranberry pests (fireworm, cranberry girdler) in Massachusetts.
Until the 1930s-1940s, this report says, the LHA pesticide was frequently prepared by American farmers at home by reacting soluble lead salts with sodium arsenate, and with the addition of the DDT pesticide coming into massive use during the late 1940’s, led to the 1952 polio epidemic that would be the worst outbreak in American history, and is credited with heightening parents’ fears of the disease and focusing public awareness on the need for a vaccine. Of the 57,628 cases reported that year 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.
To the current polio epidemic sweeping America, this report warns, the “polio-pesticide” link cannot be ruled out as the current clusters being reported are all in agricultural regions that have been either spraying or harvesting what are called Monsanto “Round Up Ready Crops” and include Roundup Ready Alfalfa, Roundup Ready Soybean and the more than 400,000 pounds of Roundup pesticides applied to California wine grapes.
To the American people being able to protect their children from this current polio epidemic is not likely, this report sadly concludes, as President Obama last year signed a bill called “The Monsanto Protection Act” that effectively bars US Federal Courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of Monsanto’s “Round Up Ready Crops” no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products or the use of this pesticide may come to light in the future.
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Strange Animal behavior is usually a good indicator of a seismic event.
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Like nearly all other mass shooters, ex-Navy shooter Aaron Alexis was also being treated with psychiatric drugs
We weren’t planning to cover this story until the Associated Press confirmed that Aaron Alexis, the shooter believed responsible for the recent mass shooting at the Navy yard, “had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.”
This is proof that Aaron Alexis was on psychiatric drugs, because that’s the only treatment currently being offered by the Veterans Administration for mental problems. Alexis’ family members also confirmed to the press that he was being “treated” for his mental health problems. Across the medical industry, “treatment” is the code word for psychiatric drugging.
Nearly every shooter has a history of psychiatric drug use
As Natural News readers well know, the vast majority of mass shooters in U.S. history have all been on mind-altering psychiatric drugs. Those prescription medications create feelings of detachment in people, making them feel like they “playing out a video game” rather than acting out in the real world.
See a list of some of the other shootings where the perpetrators were taking psychiatric drugs in this Natural News article.
Not coincidentally, Aaron Alexis was also “obsessed with violent video games,” reports The Telegraph. Violent video games allow potential shooters to “rehearse” their first-person murderous rampage actions, reinforcing the actions in their brain neurology. It makes the act of killing seem normal, if not habitual.
This combination is repeated over and over again in violent mass killings: psychiatric drugs + video games = mass death.
Press once again lies about the AR-15
Of course, a mass shooting also needs to have a firearm present, but even facts surrounding those claims are now proven to be widely and inaccurately reported by the mainstream media — an institution which has now utterly abandoned the concept of fact checking in its rush to get the story out. Not only has the media had to retract its initial claim of the identity of the shooter, it also turns out that there was no AR-15 used in the shooting at all.
“Federal law enforcement sources told CNN Tuesday that authorities have recovered three weapons from the scene of the mass shooting, including one — a shotgun — that investigators believe Alexis brought in to the compound,” reports CNN. “The other two weapons, which sources say were handguns, may have been taken from guards at the Navy complex. The sources, who have detailed knowledge of the investigation, cautioned that initial information that an AR-15 was used in the shootings may have been incorrect. It is believed that Alexis had rented an AR-15, but returned it before Monday morning’s shootings.”
Regardless of the shooter’s weapon of choice, it also turns out that once again he chose a “gun-free zone” to carry out his crime, knowing full well that no ordinary citizens would be able to return fire, giving him plenty of time to carry out his mad killing plan.
This is another characteristic of recent mass shootings: they have all taken place in gun-free zones. Such zones are obviously the preferred targets of mass killers who seek to minimize their own risk of being taken out by return fire.
Finally, it is worth noting that the SWAT team which eventually shot and killed Aaron Alexis most likely did so with an AR-15 rifle, proving that AR-15s are extremely useful in protecting the public when deployed in the hands of someone who has the best interests of the public in mind. The actual rifle model used to kill Alexis has not yet been released, so it could have been something else, but there is no question that SWAT team members were well armed with AR-15-style tactical rifles and that such rifles in the hands of those men unquestionably served a positive role of protecting the public.
You can’t trust the media to tell you the real story
The bottom line in all this is that when it comes to shooters, psychiatric drugs and firearms, you simply can’t trust the mainstream media to tell you the real story. They will often report half-truths or even just invent bizarre new “facts” they want you to believe, but they have no real investment in the idea of getting to the actual story of what happened and bringing that story to the public.
The media is mostly just using this shooting as another way to sell more advertising while pushing a particular political agenda that utterly ignores the far more dangerous chemical holocaust taking place in our nation due to the widespread deployment of psychiatric drugs.
In fact, I am the author of the widely-shared article from 2012 entitled, Gun control? We need medication control!
And I stand by that argument today. A firearm in the hands of a competent, ethical person who protects innocent bystanders is a blessing. But a mind-altering medication in the hands of a violent video game addict with extreme anger issues is a catastrophe waiting to happen.