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'We don't really know what it is': zoo adopts creatures like aliens



The creature can reproduce itself.

But like most other species, survival is driven by genetic diversity, which in the case of a clot occurs by two genetically diverse organisms that meet and merge into a new single blob.

A study published in 2016 redefined our understanding of intelligence by concluding that clots, creatures without a central nervous system, can "learn" from experience and change their behavior accordingly.

In laboratory experiments, scientists observed mucus adjusting its route on a narrow bridge to a food source after they caused an unpleasant, though not dangerous, obstacle.

HARD TO KILL

Sloth-like propulsion does not make it a clear mass puller, but the zoo has made plans, preparing an interactive display that includes a fast video of lumps moving forward by extending finger-like protrusions called pseudopods.

It may move very slowly, but in ideal conditions, it can grow at a very high speed – doubling every day.

And it's hard to kill: when exposed to danger, it goes into hibernation and dries up.

In this vegetative fashion, "it's almost eternal," said blob specialist Audrey Dussutour from the French CNRS research institute.

"You can even put it in the microwave for a few minutes".

But just add a few drops of water, and "voila!" lumps come back to life, find food and breed, which is done by producing and releasing spores that grow into new baby lumps.

"Clumps of any size can be made, there are no known limits," said Dussutour.

A 10 m thick clot has grown in the lab.


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