For slime moulds, memories are made of this
Single celled organisms can exchange ‘knowledge’ through touching.
Delightfully described by researchers as “a fusion of two blobs”, this image shows to slime moulds (Physarum polycephalum) gradually fusing with each other.
Slime moulds are single-celled organisms devoid of nervous systems. They have been shown to be capable of adapting their search routes in response to available food quality, and have been used as models to map the optimum layout for road networks in Mexico.
In the latest research, scientists at the Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale in France have demonstrated that the moulds can exchange “memories”, such as past encounters with salty environments, through touching each other.
The findings are reported in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.