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Thread: Paris zoo unveils the "blob", an organism with no brain but 720 sexes

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    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Paris zoo unveils the "blob", an organism with no brain but 720 sexes

    Source: Reuters





    PARIS (Reuters) - A Paris zoo showcased a mysterious new organism on Wednesday, dubbed the “blob”, a yellowish unicellular small living being which looks like a fungus but acts like an animal.

    This newest exhibit of the Paris Zoological Park, which goes on display to the public on Saturday, has no mouth, no stomach, no eyes, yet it can detect food and digest it.

    The blob also has almost 720 sexes, can move without legs or wings and heals itself in two minutes if cut in half.

    “The blob is a living being which belongs to one of nature’s mysteries”, said Bruno David, director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, of which the Zoological Park is part.

    “It surprises us because it has no brain but is able to learn (...) and if you merge two blobs, the one that has learned will transmit its knowledge to the other,” David added.

    The blob was named after a 1958 science-fiction horror B-movie, starring a young Steve McQueen, in which an alien life form - The Blob - consumes everything in its path in a small Pennsylvania town.

    “We know for sure it is not a plant but we don’t really if it’s an animal or a fungus,” said David.

    “It behaves very surprisingly for something that looks like a mushroom (...) it has the behavior of an animal, it is able to learn.”


    Source: Reuters
    = DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR =

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    Senior Member PurpleLama's Avatar
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    It is true that much about fungal life forms is not well understood, if at all. It can be argued that a network of mycelium beneath the soil functions like something between a neural system and a cardiovascular system. Indeed, it is the foundation of companion planting, without the fungus the compounds produced of one plant would often not reach the other which may benefit from them.

    Fascinating stuff.

    Someone ought to get a piece of this blob to Paul Stamets!
    Sometimes God shines his magic light beam from outer space, and it works in mysterious ways.

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    I'm fascinated by 'le blob'.



    This one has the frog personality showing, lower right.



    Meet the "blob", also known by its scientific name Physarum polycephalum or "many-headed slime".
    It appears stationary, but does cover ground—at a leisurely pace of up to one centimetre (0.4 inches) per hour—in search of prey, such as mushroom spores, bacteria, and other microbes.
    Mostly yellow, but also in varieties of red, white or pink, the blob is found most often on decaying leaves and tree trunks in cool, moist spots such as woods.
    Long considered a fungus, the blob was reclassified in the 1990s in the group of myxomycetes or slime moulds, a subcategory of the amoeba family.

    "It is capable of memory, it is capable of adapting its behaviour, it is capable of solving problems, of moving around a labyrinth, of optimising solutions, of behaving a little like an animal. So it's a very curious being, a very curious living being," said David.
    And it is hard to kill: when exposed to danger it goes into hibernation and dries out.

    In this vegetative mode, "it is nigh immortal," blob specialist Audrey Dussutour of France's CNRS research institute told AFP.

    But just add a few drops of water, and "voila!" the blob comes to life again, looking to feed and procreate, which it does by producing and releasing spores that grow into new, baby blobs.
    phys.org

    Le wow!

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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    chemicals/neurotransmitters are good transportation conduits...What does that thing do with 72 sexes?
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    I haven't found that answer yet. It can form new blobs. What part of it is considered the sex organ? I dunno. It can merge thereby diversifying it's genetic portfolio. One thing for sure, it will survive and thrive because with climate change comes the era of slime moulds.

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    Senior Member PurpleLama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    chemicals/neurotransmitters are good transportation conduits...What does that thing do with 72 sexes?
    With all the merging and diverging that goes on in its reproduction, the common sense human idea of sex pretty much goes out the window. The scientific definitions of such as it applies to microbiology is fairly distinct from our mammalian perspective.

    Or, with all them -osis's flying around, who the f knows?! Lol
    Sometimes God shines his magic light beam from outer space, and it works in mysterious ways.

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Imagine if humans budded and broke off their offspring.

    Sounds like a gross sci fi.

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    Can I have one? I promise to feed it, water it and take it on walks. Please Mom? Please Dad?

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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Hi Rogue,

    I think you're parents are going to consider how you have 'taken care" of your other pets....
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    It was just that one time I swear! I won't let it happen again.

    Sorry guys...


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    Senior Member Malisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RogueEllis View Post
    Can I have one? I promise to feed it, water it and take it on walks. Please Mom? Please Dad?
    But first you have to think very carefully what will happen if/when you flush it down the toilet...

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    Just when you thought it was safe to sit on the toilet...

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    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RogueEllis View Post
    Just when you thought it was safe to sit on the toilet...
    They don't think sitting on the toilet would be all that safe over in South Africa. They've got a small but very venomous and very aggressive spider there that likes setting up its residence under the toilet seat.
    = DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR =

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    Oh my. The ol' hovering technique.

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