The Paris Zoological Park is unveiling a bizarre “blob” organism this weekend that can learn without a brain, digest food without a mouth or stomach, and rapidly heal itself after being chopped in half.
“The blob is a living being which belongs to one of nature’s mysteries,” Bruno David, the director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, told Reuters. “It surprises us because it has no brain but is able to learn… and if you merge two blobs, the one that has learned will transmit its knowledge to the other.”
The slime mold, formally known as Physarum polycephalum but widely called the “blob,” is believed to be extraordinarily ancient — perhaps as old as a billion years, according to CNN — and unicellular. It can move on its own and solve tricky problems. And its classification in the tree of life is up for debate, according to experts.
“We know for sure it is not a plant but we don’t really [know] if it’s an animal or a fungus,” David told Reuters. “It behaves very surprisingly for something that looks like a mushroom… it has the behavior of an animal, it is able to learn.”
READ MORE: Paris zoo unveils the “blob”, an organism with no brain but 720 sexes [Reuters]
More on weird organisms: Meet The Axolotl: The Mexican Walking Fish