The bright yellow goo that lives in the damp forest floor continues to occupy the minds of scientists, impressing them with its ability to sense the world without even having a brain. Another paper by scientists on Physarum polycephalum proved that this life form senses its environment with its entire surface and decides which direction to grow based on these sensations. The results of this study were published in Advanced Materials.
Scientists are increasingly fascinated by Physarum research because, despite the lack of a brain or its likeness, this species of life performs a number of actions that humans believe only an intelligent being can do. The study of this phenomenon will allow scientists to learn more about the basics of brain activity of living beings, including humans themselves.
It is worth noting that Physarum polycephalum is a very unusual living organism. It is not a fungus, an animal, or a plant. This organism belongs to the group of protists – all forms of life that do not belong to the three above-mentioned groups. This life form can be found in dark and damp places, such as the forest floor, where it lives by recycling organics and putting them back into the food chain.
Physarum begins its life as a multitude of individual cells, each with its own nucleus. These cells fuse to form the plasmodium, a large single cell containing billions of nuclei floating in the cytoplasmic fluid.
It is during this life stage that Physarum polycephalum shows curious behavior. Scientists have observed how this organism traverses mazes and remembers new substances for months. It can also remember places where it used to find food and share its memories with other cells of its species. This is incredible for an organism that has no brain or nervous system.