Brainless blob capable of human-like behaviours has scientists absolutely stumped
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In today's day and age, some of the discoveries scientists come up with are truly quite incredible and make us say: "Eh, how on earth did you find that?"
However, even after heaps of research and head-scratching, some things that are discovered even manage to stump scientists.
This one is quite incredible really, and I'm kind of struggling to get my head around if I'm being perfectly honest.
It essentially involves a brainless blob that is capable of human-like behaviours and it has left many scientists completely baffled.
These brainless blobs are known as slime molds - bright, yellow organisms found on decaying logs and many other moist areas.
Along with no existence of a brain, slime molds also have no neurons, with them consisting of just a single, giant cell.
But somehow, they are capable of performing complicated and intelligent behaviours that does put some of us humans to shame.
Scientist Audrey Dussutour is one of those who has studied these these slime molds, in particular Physarum polycephalum.
These pesky little molds can make decisions such as escaping from traps and breaking out of Petri dishes, and can even escape the lab all together.
In its smallest form, Physarum exist as just microscopic cells, which will actively swim about.
But these calls are attracted to each other, so will usually merge together when they swarm, creating a single giant cell known as a plasmodium.
The cell is not exactly fast though, as it can only move at around 4cm per hour. But still, it is quite remarkable it can even move in the first place.
Speaking about its behaviour, science journalist Ed Yong wrote in the Guardian: "It behaves like a colony. Every part rhythmically expands and contracts, pushing around the fluid inside."
As a result, Physarum can perform some quite remarkable behaviours, sounding like something straight out of an episode of Black Mirror.
First of all, they can smell food, as like humans, they have receptors all over the cell body that tells them that food is nearby.
Not only that, but Physarum can also pulsate its way to food, as the slime mold's pulses quicken after smelling the grub.
The protoplasm starts to flow in the direction of the food, with the hungry slime right on its tale.
A study on the cells also found that Physarum can potentially be able to remember where they have been, as they do not retrace their steps.
They do this by leaving some rather disgusting and slimy breadcrumbs as a form of an 'external memory'.
When the smile mold is on the run from the lab once more, the breadcrumbs tell them that they've explored this area and to look elsewhere.
Feeling a tiny bit freaked out? Me too.