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While researching her doctoral thesis, Suzanne Simard, now a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia, made an astounding discovery – trees in forests seem to possess complex information superhighways in their root systems that allow them to share information. Her 1995 doctoral thesis on the topic has been part of a revolution in how scientists view plants, leading many to suggest that they possess cognitive abilities, and even intelligence. This animation from TED-Ed details the symbiotic relationship – between tree roots and fungi called mycorrhizae – that serves as the foundation of these intricate intra-tree communication networks, allowing them to trade news on topics such as drought and insect attacks, and even detect if an incoming message has been sent by a close relative.
How would a piano sound on Mars? Embark on an interplanetary sonic journey
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
An ode to the humble rotifer – one of nature’s simplest and strangest creatures
Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others
Cognition and intelligence
How a ‘periodic table’ of animal intelligence could help to root out human bias
The city as an emergent life form, with architecture as the skeleton and roads as veins
How sky-high dreams launched one man’s audacious life in homemade rocketry
Earth science and climate
How much can science really tell us about the future of climate change?
War and peace
What happens when pacifist soldiers search for peace in a war video game