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Elements S4 • E124

What Has No Brain, 720 Sexes, And the Ability To Self-Heal?!

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Published on Dec 23, 2019

With its ability to self-heal and farm bacterial “crops,” slime mold is challenging everything we know about intelligent life.
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A strange brand new organism is on display at the Parc Zoologique de Paris; a slimy, brainless organism nicknamed “Le Blob.”

Le blob is not an animal, but a slime mold—it has no eyes, no ears, no mouth, and no limbs. But Le Blog is mobile, the organism can communicate, heal itself, and it has nearly 720 biological sexes.

But what exactly is a slime mold?

Slime molds like Le Blob are protists, belonging to the phylum amoebozoa, and within the world of slime molds there are two very different kinds: cellular slime molds and acellular slime molds.

Cellular slime molds are tiny amoebas that require a microscope to see, but they can clump together into a slimy blob that acts as one whole superorganism. That’s why this kind of slime mold is sometimes called the social amoeba—they like to get together and hang out under the right conditions.

But Le Blob is the other kind of slime mold, the acellular kind. Le Blob’s official name is Physarum polycephalum and the organism still starts out as an amoeba but eventually, as it continues to grow, the nuclei divide but the cell does not essentially forming one giant cell made up of many, many nuclei called a plasmodium. And Le Blob likes to move, like a lot.

And the slime molds adventurous behavior is not the only thing that makes them special.

Find out more about this peculiar new organism and all there is to learn from slime molds like Le Blob on this Elements.

#LeBlob #SlimeMold #Organism #Paris #Zoo #Seeker #Science #Elements

Read More:

Slime Molds Remember — but Do They Learn?
https://www.quantamagazine.org/slime-...
"Most importantly, slime molds can be taught new tricks; depending on the species, they may not like caffeine, salt or strong light, but they can learn that no-go areas marked with these are not as bad as they seem, a process known as habituation."

Slime Molds: No Brains, No Feet, No Problem
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/...
"When ripped in half, the halves continue to grow independently and the nuclei in each half continue to divide and develop in sync. This makes the organism uniquely appealing to cancer drug research, said Jonatha Gott at Case Western University, because it provides researchers with multiple identical samples dividing at the same time."

Slime mould mashup models fiendish computing problem
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03...
"Enter the slime mould (Physarum polycephalum), already known to be able to solve simple mazes. The researchers, Jeff Jones and Andrew Adamatzky of the University of the West of England's Centre for Unconventional Computing, decided to model the slime mould in a computer and see if its behaviour would provide a travelling salesman solution."
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