Tag Archives: animal or plant?

Slime Mold: Animal or Plant?

Down to Earth: The radical collective of slime mold

Jambo, Mr. Nature here–and this is wild: how do you tell whether a living thing is an animal or a plant?

There are more than 900 species of slime molds, they’re found all over–even inside your air conditioner, if the drain gets blocked. They mostly live as single-celled organisms; but when food is scarce, they can clump themselves together and function as a multi-celled organism.

They have neither brains nor nervous systems: nevertheless, slime molds can remember, and some studies suggest they can even learn, modifying their behavior in light of past experience. Yeesh, did I say “experience”? Well, yeah: because that’s apparently what’s going on with them–although just how they do it, no one knows.

Currently biologists have decided that slime molds are not plants but rather a kind of amoeba. The smart kind that remembers things. Go figure.

Just when we think we’ve got Creation figured out, God likes to tantalize us with a mystery like this.

It keeps us on our toes.


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