Plants can smell. Plants can see. Now plants are capable of evading predators and determining friend from foe.

I have always secretly hoped that someday we would discover that plants are just as sentient as animals, and as a result, the ethical vegans of the world would be forced to come to terms with the fact that when it comes to food, they are no less murderous than cow and chicken-eating people like me.

I posted that paragraph back in July upon learning that plants have a sense of smell. And this was on the heels of learning that plants can see as well. 

This week we learned that certain plants are capable of evading enemies and discerning friend from foe.

Marine scientists at the University of Rhode Island School of Oceanography recently discovered a species of phytoplankton that actively avoids being eaten.

The scientists observed that the phytoplankton, called Heterosigma akashiwo, swam away from zooplankton, its natural predator, yet remained undaunted by the presence of predators with an appetite for other things.

I realize that this is a microscopic form of plant life, but it’s a plant, damn it, and it’s running away from the bad guys and determining who is safe to hang out with based upon their appetite.

This is some advanced stuff.

I’ve said it before: It’s remarkably arrogant for us to think that we fully understand the true nature of any living thing, including plants. To simply assume that the carrot you are eating is incapable of experiencing thought or pain or existential suffering is foolish. As scientists are continuing to discover, plant life is capable of far more sentience than we could have ever imagined.

So eat up, my ethically vegan friends, while there is still time. It won’t be long before we discover that the acorn that landed on your head was purposely thrown at you by an oak tree with a not-so-great sense of humor.