Among the most mysterious and intriguing creatures on Earth are the Physarum polycephalus, commonly known as a “blob”. This primitive and particular form of life that appeared on the blue planet, approximately 500 million years ago, can reach spectacular dimensions.
the drop is not neither an animal nor a plant not a fungus. It is a unicellular living being found in nature, especially in humid and dark places. Scientists have also learned how to cultivate it. in laboratory. this organization can reach very large sizeseither in the forest or in the laboratory, depending on the conditions of your environment.
But by the way, what is a blob?
Physarum polycephalus is an amoebozoan classified since 2015 among the myxomycetes, of the order Physarales. This creature particularly arouses the curiosity of researchers for several reasons. Indeed, if we refer to his biological life cycle, we can say thatshe is immortal.
If the conditions of its environment are unfavourable, it is capable ofenter a state of dormancy. When the environment becomes conducive to their development, he resurrects. Even more, incredible, the stain is a gifted cell phone. He is able to learn from his mistakes and pass on information to his peers. she seems so endowed with memory.
“The stain is a fascinating living being, because they tell us about our origins. Appeared more than 500 million years ago, it proves that learning preceded the emergence of the brain. »
Audrey Dussu Tour
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What is the size of the Physarum polycephalus ?
the Physarum polycephalus It has been the subject of several scientific studies. this is the experience “Raise Your Bubble” started by him CNES and the CNRDto which audrey dusutour , a French scientist, participated. Audrey Dussutour is also the author of the book “Everything you ever wanted to know about the blob ». This document provides information on the surface area that the creature can cover.
So the drop measures five hundredths of a millimeterat the beginning of its existence. Awesome thing: you can double the size every day . That is, it grows quite quickly and becomes visible. In the wild, this creature can reach incredible size. She is capable of multiplying its size by 200,000during its existence.
The body is able to move. can go up to four centimeters per hour. For example, if you leave it under the table, the next day you may find it on top, looking for food. It lives in cool and humid environments. So, 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. she feeds of bacteria and mold.
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What are the largest blobs in the world?
Early in his life, the Physarum polycephalus it is tiny and invisible to the naked eye. Yet there are stains covering very large areas.
The largest spot in the world found in nature: 1 square kilometer
The stain develops especially in wetlands, on the bark of trees, protected from light. Therefore, several large spots have been discovered in nature. The largest was in United States, Appalachia, West Virginia. This blob reached a total area ofone square kilometer.
The largest laboratory bubble in the world: 10 square meters
In the laboratory, blobs are particularly useful for genetic research. basically they are there oat fed. According to the Guinness Book of Recordsthe the largest lab-grown spot measures 10 square meters . It is obviously one and the same cell.
The fact is that the blob has the ability to split their nuclei keeping the cell intact. Thus, a cell can have many nuclei.
To go further, there are neither males nor females in the blobs. The researchers were able to record 720 sexual types in this species! This feature makes it easy to play. In fact, a drop has 719 chances of finding a partner to merge when it encounters another blob.
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The longest spot in the world is in France – 53.9 meters
At the beginning of the year, students and “blobers” from all over France gathered at the Blaise Pascal Secondary School in Chateaurouxfor the Big Blob Record. It is a recreational-educational event organized with the support of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research). After merging their blobs, they created a single drop 53.9 meters long.
Its creation was approved by the guinness book how to be longest drop 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 longest single-celled organism. This was previously occupied by the caulerpa, a green algae about ten meters long.
“The registry has the advantage of highlighting scientific research. There is enthusiasm among the students. »
Nicolas Debus, biotechnology teacher at Castelroussin secondary school
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