Meet the “blob,” an unusual organism which will go on display Saturday at the Paris Zoological Park, as part of a first-of-its-kind exhibition intended to showcase its rare abilities.
The slime mold, which is known officially as physarum polycephalum (or “the many headed slime”) is neither a plant, an animal or a fungus. It doesn’t have two sexes — male and female — it has 720. And it can also split into different organisms and then fuse back together, according to a press release from the Zoological Park.
The Texas blob died as quickly as it had appeared, and the world all but forgot about the peculiar slime until new research published in 2016 caused a stir among the science community.
The slime mold is also believed to be capable of solving problems, such as finding the shortest way to exit a labyrinth and anticipating changes in its environment, according to scientific researchers at the Zoological Park.
Dwelling on forest floors
“Acacia trees, oak bark and chestnut bark are its favorite places,” said the zoo’s Marlene Itan.
Blobs are normally found on forest floors in Europe, she added. “It thrives in temperatures oscillating between 19 and 25 degrees Celsius (66 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) and when humidity levels reach 80% to 100%,” she said.
Almost immortal, its only foes are light and drought, according to the zoo’s press release. But it can hibernate during several years when threatened, it added.