The newest creature in the zoo, meet the Blob

The “blob”, slime mould (Physarum polycephalum), a single-celled organism forming over tree chunk, is pictured at the Paris Zoological Park during a press preview in Paris, France on Oct 16, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

A living being that has no legs but can move? No mouth but can eat.  No brain but can learn. It’s tiny and neon yellow looks a lot like play slime or sludge. Confused? Well, let’s introduce you to the Blob! (Nor have I!)

Recently, the Paris zoo unveiled a new occupant – a slime known as Physarum polycephalum, a.k.a The Blob. It’s not an animal or a plant, not even fungi so this slime mould probably belongs to the Amoebozoa kingdom. Even though they have been around for a million years, observing it so closely now has left scientists and the public fascinated by it! 

Top 5 things you should know about the Blob

  1. This tiny living being has one big cell with billions of nuclei! (FYI : The human body has nearly 37.2 trillion cells!)
  2. The Blob likes to snack on bacteria, fungi and yeast and can be found in gardens or forests, more near decaying trees.  
  3. One Blob has nearly 720 sexes in it – they reproduce by releasing spores and when 2 different gene spores meet, a new baby Blob is born.
  4. If you cut it into half, the Blob can heal itself within 2 minutes. It sounds like a superhero!
  5. Even though it has no brain or nervous system, the Blob can learn and remember things. Scientists have experimented with it and seen it can solve maze problems and even got them to figure out the shortest route possible between cities on a map. 

The best part is that two different Blobs will exchange information that they have learnt with one another!

Did you know? This slime mould has been named after 1958 sci-fi movie where ‘The Blob’ is an alien life form that destroys everything in its path!

Luckily for us, our Blob has not shown any signs of being destructive yet and seems to be happy to coexists with its other ‘living being’ companions!

Written by: Preetika Soni. Preetika is a full – time toddler mommy. In the time that is left, she enjoys writing, photography and crochet. She has worked with NDTV, Mumbai and has taught at SCMSophia. 


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