Scientists from the Royal Society Open Science have discovered that the patterns of electrical spike-based “language” fungi are eerily similar to human speech. Fungi are capable of sending electrical signals to one another through hyphae, which are long, filamentous tendrils that the organisms use to explore, and the number of these increase when they encounter new sources of food. This finding suggests that it’s possible fungi use this “language” to let each other know about new food sources or injury. Read more for additional information.
Adam Adamatsky, a computer scientist from the Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of West of England, studied four species of mushrooms: enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar fungi. He inserted small electrodes into substrates colonized by the mushroom’s hyphae and then proceeded recorded their electrical activity. The data revealed that the electrical spikes often occurred in clusters that resembled a human vocabulary of up to 50 words.
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We do not know if there is a direct relationship between spiking patterns in fungi and human speech. 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,” said Prof Andrew Adamatzky at the University of the West of England’s unconventional computing laboratory in Bristol.