Weird science news: Scientists have discovered that trees sleep at night.
In a beautiful experiment that helps us appreciate how all life moves to the same 24hour beat, researchers in Europe laser scanned two birch trees – one in Finland and one in Austria – on a windless night and discovered that the trees “drooped” during the night.
The study, which was published in the Frontiers in Plant Science journal, said that the leaves and branches of the trees relaxed through out the time and reached their lowest position two hours before sunset. AS the sun rose the trees then slowly woke up and returned to their former position.
This freaky discovery was only possible due to the laser scanning technology the scientists used which allowed the whole tree to be mapped in a matter of seconds without the need for the large flashes of traditional photography which would have interfered with the trees natural rhythms.
The scientists still do not know exactly how and why the process happens.
“Perhaps the most important open question is whether the observed branch movements take place under the influence of light from sunset and sunrise, or if they are independent from light and governed by the internal circadian clock of the plant,” says the study.