Among the most mysterious and fascinating creatures on Earth are Physarum polycephalum, often called a “blob”. This form of ancient and particular life that appeared on the blue planet, approximately 500 million years ago, can reach incredible dimensions.
The blob is not neither animal nor plant neither mushroom. It is a unicellular living creature found in nature, especially in wet and dark places. Scientists have also learned how to cultivate it in the laboratory. This organization can reach a very large sizeeither in the forest or in the laboratory, depending on the conditions around it.
But by the way, what is a blob?
Physarum polycephalum The amoebozoan is classified from 2015 as myxomycetes, in the order Physarales. This creature particularly aroused the curiosity of researchers for several reasons. In fact, if we talk about his biological life cycle, we can say thathe is immortal.
If the conditions around him are not good, it will dogo into a state of dormancy. If the environment becomes favorable for its development, he is resurrected. Moreover, surprisingly, the blob is a gifted cell. He can learn from his mistakes and pass the information on to his peers. He said given memory.
“The blob is an interesting living creature, because they tell us about our origins. Appearing more than 500 million years ago, it proves to us that learning precedes the emergence of the brain. »
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What is the size of Physarum polycephalum ?
the physarum polycephalum has been the subject of many scientific studies. This is the experience “Raise Your Blob” sponsored by CNES and the CNRDwhere Audrey Dussutour , a French scientist, participated. Audrey Dussutour is also the author of the book “Everything you wanted to know about the blob ». This document provides information on the face to be covered by the creature.
Hence the dimensions of the blob five hundredths of a millimeterat the beginning of its existence. Interesting thing: it can twice daily . In other words, it grows quickly and becomes visible. In nature, this creature can reach an incredible size. He is able to multiply its size by 200,000during its existence.
The body can move. This can be done up to four centimeters per hour. For example, if you leave it under the table, you might find it the next day on top of it, looking for food. It lives in cold and humid environments. Therefore, it is possible to find it at home, in a park, in the forest and in culture, as well as in the laboratory of course. But don’t worry, the creature is completely harmless. He is eating on bacteria and mold.
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What are the biggest blobs in the world?
Early in his life, the Physarum polycephalum small and invisible to the eye. However, there are blobs covering very large areas.
The world’s largest blob found in nature – 1 square kilometers
The blob develops especially in the wetlands, in the bark of trees, protected from light. Many large bubbles have been discovered in nature. The biggest one is USA, Appalachia, West Virginia. This blob reaches the total area ofone square kilometer.
The largest laboratory blob in the world – 10 square meters
In the laboratory, blobs are particularly useful for genetic research. They are basically there fed on oatmeal. According to Guinness Book of Recordsthe largest lab-grown blob measures 10 square meters . It is clearly one and the same cell.
The truth is that the blob has the ability to divides its nuclei while keeping the cell stationary. Therefore, a cell can have many nuclei.
Furthermore, there are no males or females in the blobs. The researchers were able to record 720 types of sex of this species! This behavior facilitates their reproduction. Actually, there is a blob 719 chances to find a mate to merge with when it encounters another blob.
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The tallest blob in the world is in France – 53.9 meters
Earlier in the year, students and “blobers” from all over France gathered at Blaise Pascal high school in Chateaurouxfor the Big Blob Record. This is a fun-educational event organized with the support of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research). After combining their blobs, they create a a blob 53.9 meters long.
Their creation is approved by Guinness Book as such tallest blob in the world . The previous record was held by the motor neuron of the blue whale, 30 metersfrom the cetacean’s head to its tail.
At the same time, they beat the record for the longest single-celled organism. It was once held by caulerpa, a green moss about ten meters tall.
“The record has the advantage of putting a spotlight on scientific research. There is enthusiasm among the students. »
Nicolas Debus, professor of biotechnology at Castelroussin high school