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DaVinci’s Tree Theory

Friday Fun fact: DaVinci’s Tree Theory


page from Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook detailing his theory of trees
page from Da Vinci’s notebook

500 years ago, Leonardo Da Vinci observed a simple fact that nobody had apparently ever noticed before:

that “all branches of a tree … put together are equal in thickness to its trunk.”

In other words, if a tree’s branches were folded upward and squeezed together, the tree would look like one big trunk with the same thickness from top to bottom.

“Leonardo’s rule is an amazing thing,” said Kate McCulloh of Oregon State University, a scientist specializing in plant physiology. “Until recently, people really haven’t tested it.”

But scientists have now taken to running high-tech fractally-modeled, wind-tunnel-tested experiments on DaVinci’s rule, and it appears to be holding true.

Click here for the full article on modern experiments testing the master’s theory on

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