Behold the “blob.” It looks like a fungus, acts like an animal, heals itself within minutes and survives without a mouth, legs, wings or a brain — and it can learn.
“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. David is part of the team poised to unveil the blob to the public at the Zoological Park in Paris on Saturday.
He says it’s unclear what sort of creature the blob is, although scientists have been trying to figure that out for more than four decades. “We know for sure it is not a plant but we don’t really know if it’s an animal or a fungus,” he told Reuters. “It behaves very surprisingly for something that looks like a mushroom.”
He added that despite the blob’s lack of a brain, it shows the ability to solve problems and share information.
“It has the behaviour of an animal. It is able to learn,” David said. He says two blobs can actually merge into one, and that this merging process allows them to combine their knowledge.
The bright yellow, unicellular organism moves at approximately four centimetres an hour. It also doesn’t have a single male or female sex — it has 720 sexes. (Yes, you read that right, but we’d need an advanced science degree to explain this accurately.)
The creature has been dubbed “the blob” in honour of The Blob, a 1958 B-movie in which an alien creature devours everything and everyone in a small U.S. town.
However, it also has a more scientific name: Physarum polycephalum. It’s technically considered a slime mold, and it doesn’t fit neatly into the plant, animal or bacteria categories. It eats fungal spores and bacteria — not teenagers — and it can stitch itself together even after it’s been split in half. It’s also proven capable of solving mazes in past trials.
Some have compared the creature to Venom, the sentient black goo from Marvel Comics that takes over a host and gives him or her an all-black costume.
“Venom is real!” Twitter user Ronan Tesoriere tweeted in French on Thursday, in response to the blob story.
Visitors to the Zoological Park can expect to see the blob as a harmless puddle of yellow goo on a log or rock — not as a writhing symbiote waiting for a host.
But one can dream, right?