A New Study has found that Mushrooms Talk To Each Other
Scientists have found mushrooms “talk” to one another using electrical impulses that spike when fungi come into contact with food sources or potential dangers.
New research suggests mushrooms talk to each other, and have a vocabulary of up to 50 words. Seriously!
According to a study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, scientists have revealed the organisms to be nature’s most unexpected chatterboxes.
Leading the study was Andrew Adamatzky, a professor with the Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of the West of England. His study focused on four species of fungi, enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar.
Adamatzky noted that in certain situations, the electrical signals mushrooms produce undeniably spiked.
Typically, multiple mushrooms grow out of the same mycelium, a root-like network of filaments similar to neurons in the human body. The electrical impulses released by one mushroom travel through the mycelium to other mushrooms growing from the same network.
While this proverbial internet of the forest is staggering on its own, Adamatzky has now quantified the language of mushrooms for the first time — to staggering results.
Mushrooms Communicate Using up to 50 Words!
“Assuming that spikes of electrical activity are used by fungi to communicate, we demonstrate that distributions of fungal word lengths match that of human languages,” he said. “We found that the size of fungal vocabulary can be up to 50 words, however, the core vocabulary of most frequently used words does not exceed 15 to 20 words.”
How To Find Out If Mushrooms Talk to Each Other?
To properly test his hypothesis that mushrooms use an identifiable language, Adamatzky inserted tiny electrodes into the substrate, or the surface where each particular fungi was growing, to analyze the electrical output of each species.
According to The Guardian, the split gill mushroom yielded the most remarkable results.
The split gill survives by digesting wood, and Adamatzky was stunned to see a sharp spike in the mushroom’s electrical signals when the hyphae filaments that made up its mycelium came into contact with foreign pieces of wood — suggesting it was notifying other mushrooms in its network of food.
We do not know if there is a direct relationship between spiking patterns in fungi and human speech,” said Adamatzky. “Possibly not. On the other hand, there are many similarities in information processing in living substrates of different classes, families, and species. I was just curious to compare.”
Adamatzky believes that these transmitted messages are no different than the howls produced by wolves. According to National Geographic, wolves vocalize their locations on a regular basis for a wide variety of reasons, such as notifying their pack of incoming predators or the position of prey.
Mushroom Speech is Similar to English Language
“There is also another option — they are saying nothing,”
“Propagating mycelium tips are electrically charged, and, therefore, when the charged tips pass in a pair of differential electrodes, a spike in the potential difference is recorded.”Adamatzky
When Adamatzky realized that these spikes in electrical output came in specific clusters, he began mathematically distinguishing them. He not only found that these clusters comprised a vocabulary of up to 50 words, but that their “fungal word lengths” were strikingly similar to those of the English language.
Adamatzky identified that each fungal “word” had an average length of 5.97 letters, compared to the 4.8-letter average of English words. While Adamatzky is convinced that these increases in electrical output aren’t random, he’s also humble enough to know more research must be done.
Other scientists are skeptical of the study’s findings, as well. According to Dan Bebber, a mycologist at the University of Exeter, we’re a long way away from actually translating what these organisms are saying.
“Though interesting,” he noted, “the interpretation as language seems somewhat overenthusiastic, and would require far more research and testing of critical hypotheses before we see ‘Fungus’ on Google Translate.”
Regardless, this is fascinating stuff!
Discussion about Mushrooms Talk To Each Other, New Study Finds!
So, what do you think? Is it possible mushrooms talk to each other? Or is this a case of a scientist seeing what he wants to see? Or possibly, eating too many of his test subjects. If you know what I mean!
Don’t forget to share “A New Study has found that Mushrooms Talk To Each Other”