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Nature & Environment

Real-life 'blob' has 720 sexes but no brain

By T.K. Randall
October 17, 2019 · Comment icon 18 comments



This is one very weird organism. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 frankenstoen
A zoo in Paris has showcased one of the world's strangest organisms - a brainless, self-healing 'blob'.
Nicknamed after the titular creature of the 1958 science-fiction horror movie 'The Blob', this bizarre unicellular organism is so strange that you'd be forgiven for thinking that it can't be real.

The latest exhibit at Paris Zoological Park in France, this yellow slime looks a lot like a fungus but acts inexplicably like an animal, with the ability to detect and digest food despite the fact that it doesn't have a mouth, eyes or even a stomach.

It can move without legs or arms and can even heal itself within minutes after being cut in two.

Oh... and it also has 720 sexes....
"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. "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."

Its official scientific name is hysarum polycephalum plasmodium.

"We know for sure it is not a plant but we don't really [know] if it's an animal or a fungus," said David.

At least this particular blob is unlikely to try to take over the world... we hope.

Source: Reuters | Comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Talion78 3 years ago
Could someone explain how the 720 sexes differ from each other
Comment icon #10 Posted by Orphalesion 3 years ago
Fungi species often have a huge number of sexes (sometimes tens of thousands) but they aren't quite the same as our binary system of sexes, but more small differences in the genetic makeup. Here is a short article that explains it quite well: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/11/06/fungus-genders/
Comment icon #11 Posted by Tom1200 3 years ago
This afternoon I'm feeling rather quasi-narcissistic-pansexually-indeterminate. Is that on your list? It's a recently recognised condition based on a thorough study of one patient (me) by apseudoqualified practitioner (me) over an appropriate time period (earlier today). As well as allowing me unlimited permission to bore disinterested strangers on the trains, it also permits me to urinate in public places - it's part of my identity. Also as part of my new identityIdemand the right to free food at McDonalds, and demand that it's vegan and fat-free. And low in all those other things I do... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Matt221 3 years ago
Interesting that blooby can heal it's self when cut in half who thought"ah here's a blob, we know it's a multi sex now let chop it up and what happens..... after that we could hack some of its c*cks of pummel it's.....
Comment icon #13 Posted by Dark_Grey 3 years ago
It's hard to get clicks with a title like "Real-life 'blob' has 720 possible combinations of reproduction compatibility but no brain"
Comment icon #14 Posted by Orphalesion 3 years ago
Yes, but that poster asked how slime mould sexes work, so I gave a rough explanation and linked an article that explains it more thoroughly. In general slime moulds are pretty interesting and freaky organisms.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Talion78 3 years ago
Hmmm I understand it, but I just have a different definition of what a sex is....my own thoughts are there's 3 You either carry half the genetics to create off spring. Depending on which half makes male or female or you carry both and can either self fertalise or need a mate.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Scholar4Truth 3 years ago
Where is Steve McQueen when you need him?
Comment icon #17 Posted by cathya 3 years ago
Sounds like the Democratic Party at this time.
Comment icon #18 Posted by FlyingAngel 3 years ago
Auto-heal, no brain, no stomach or mouth, can share information? Sounds like an alien.


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