The blob is perhaps the most cunning brainless organism on the planet.
The single-cell slime mold, which lacks a nervous system, has baffled scientists for decades for its ability to learn, pass knowledge to other molds and repair itself in minutes like a headless Wolverine. Scientists still don’t know how exactly to categorize this organism.
“The blob is really one of the most extraordinary things on Earth today, but it’s been here for millions of years, and we still don’t really know what it is,” saidBruno David, director of the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris. “We don’t really know if it’s an animal, if it’s a fungus, if it’s in between. … It is capable of memory. It is capable of having an adapted behavior. It is capable of solving problems, of moving around a labyrinth.”
Slime molds are protists — mostly single-cell organisms grouped into their own kingdom. And the blob is one of the standouts of the kingdom of wayward organisms, after what could be an evolution that began a billion years ago.
The blob can navigate without eyes, limbs or wings. When researchers sliced up the organism and sprinkled them in a maze, the blob consolidated into its original form. When researchers put nutrients at the end, the blob retreated from dead ends to find the shortest way to the food.
The blob can stretch to replicate human design. It can even pass on what they know. In one study, French scientists put unpleasant nutrients in the way to make the blob find an alternate path to food. After introducing the experiment to a new blob and allowing it to merge with another, the new super blob showed incredible wisdom. “Somehow during the merging process, the naive cells learned a behavior for a situation that they themselves had never experienced,” Harvard University wrote.