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Mushrooms Could Have Language

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Written by   50
2 months ago
I’m constantly fascinated by the world around us, whether it be wonders built by the hands of human beings, the animals that roam the earth, the plants that make life possible, or the Earth itself. I also am a firm believer that the creatures we share this planet with are far more capable than we give them credit for, and at least I’m not the only one!

Picture courtesy of the New York Times.

I’m constantly fascinated by the world around us, whether it be wonders built by the hands of human beings, the animals that roam the earth, the plants that make life possible, or the Earth itself. I also am a firm believer that the creatures we share this planet with are far more capable than we give them credit for, and at least I’m not the only one!

However, when it comes to plants and fungus, things get tricky. We know that plants have some form of communication, but we can’t say for certain that this is conscious on their part. The signals that plants send out could very well be akin to the signals our brains send to the rest of our bodies, many of which we aren’t even aware of.

I mean, I don’t know for certain if I have a virus unless it’s producing symptoms, but my white blood cells certainly do! I can’t make my immune system attack anymore than someone with an autoimmune disease can make their body stop attacking.

But some new findings have come to light indicating that fungus may have a language consisting of around 50 words. That’s pretty amazing, but par for the course regarding the enigmatic mycelium. Fungus exists within a weird category of its own, neither fully plant nor fully animal.

How Can We Tell They Have Language?

Mushroom synth is a thing that you can find on YouTube easily. Mushrooms emit electric signals, which is their primary form of “speech”, if we can come to classify it as such. Andrew Adamatzky, a computer scientist, compared the electrical signals in mushrooms to human language, finding enough similarities between the two to claim that mushrooms have language and vocabulary.

Basically, eight pairs of electrodes were stuck into each fungus to measure and log electrical signals. Mr. Adamatzky tracked their frequency, amplitude, and the time between the spikes. It was algorithms, however, that compared the fungi’s electrical impulses to human language.

Strangely enough, each of the mushrooms (four different species were used) displayed a unique electrical pattern, which Adamatzky and the AI interpreted as being different languages. Their complexity was varied, averaging around 15-20 “words” with a maximum of 50.

As of right now, we can’t translate this language, if that’s what it is. Future research should also include more species of fungus and present it with different stimuli to create some context.

In the meantime, enjoy some mushroom music created with these electric signals!

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Written by   50
2 months ago
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Comments

Wow this is so interesting. Gonna tell my papa about this. ☺️

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2 months ago

Cool! Glad you enjoyed it!

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2 months ago

Wow! I never knew about this! I thought that the majority of communication of plant life had to do with some sort of chemical pheromone but I'd never thought of it being an electrical one, especially such a relatively complex language. I think I've seen something about trees/vines having their own communication systems but I hadn't really looked into that. This really makes me wonder about what other lifeforms may be able to communicate with one another.

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2 months ago

The idea of communication via electrical impulses is very interesting. I believe dolphins and whales have advanced communication, but something like mushrooms and plantlife having some form of communication could mean that we've vastly underestimated the things on Earth.

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2 months ago

Mushrooms and fungi in general, are very interesting. They are so different from everything else. I wrote about fungi before ( https://read.cash/@Mictorrani/the-third-kingdom-2f88e50b ), but I have never seen about the studies to which you refer here. It's very interesting.

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2 months ago

Thanks for the article link! Yeah, fungi are definitely in a class of their own.

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2 months ago