Cell biology Information Intelligent Design

How do giant slime molds remember things without a brain or nervous system?

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Researchers are beginning to learn just how giant molds can remember things without a nervous system. What, exactly, is doing the computations?:

Turns out, it’s all in the tubes. The slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a single cell, often very large. The way Physarum gets to be so large is that when it divides, the many single cells merge into one giant cell — with no nervous system…

But how does the giant Physarum cell, with no brain, mouth, limbs, or eyes, know and remember where and how to look for its natural food source, fungal spores and bacteria? While there is no central organization, a series of thicker and thinner tubes keep the parts communicating with each other, all the while undergoing swift reorganization itself. The Technical University of Munich team found that the tubes imprint chemical impressions of recent encounters…

This simple system shows that life forms can keep track of information in unexpected ways, even on Earth, let alone in extraterrestrial environments we might someday encounter. Information, after all, is an immaterial quality that doesn’t change with the the methods by which it is handled.

News, “Slime mold: An Earthbound “alien” that thinks without a brain” at Mind Matters News

Is it fair to say that not all life forms need a brain or a nervous system but all must have some method of managing (immaterial) information?

You may also wish to read: Why do many scientists see cells as intelligent? Bacteria appear to show intelligent behavior. But what about individual cells in our bodies?

3 Replies to “How do giant slime molds remember things without a brain or nervous system?

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    My computer remembers things without a brain or nervous system.

    🙂

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Interesting. The most obvious analog is the fungal filaments that connect trees and some other plants. I wonder if these tubes are also genetically related to neuronal axons? Same purpose, same gene to create them?

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Information may or may not be immaterial but this slime mold seems to confirm that for information to be recorded and transmitted from one point to another requires a material or physical substrate to be both a storage medium and a carrier.

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