Talking mushrooms?

It seems there may be a lot more going on around us than we are aware of.

In a quick post script to my post on plant consciousness, a new study was released today (published in The Royal Society Open Science) studying possible communication systems amongst mushrooms. A signalling between some species of fungi via electrical potential spikes that they propagate along their mycelial networks below the ground.

The researchers analysed the information content of these electrical activities and found striking similarities to the structures of language. A language, they propose, with its own syntax, grammar, sentences and spelling.

Probing the mushrooms. I wonder what they have to say about that?

The team of researchers identified up to 50 ‘words’ with around 15-20 words being used most frequently.

We recorded extracellular electrical activity of four species of fungi. We found evidences of the spike trains propagating along the mycelium network. We speculated that fungal electrical activity is a manifestation of the information communicated between distant parts of the fungal colonies. We adopted a framework of information encoding into spikes in neural system [5154] and assumed that the information in electrical communication of fungi are encoded into trains of spikes. We therefore attempted to uncover key linguistic phenomena of the proposed fungal language. We found that distributions of lengths of spike trains, measured in a number of spikes, follow the distribution of word lengths in human languages.

Now, to infer that these non-random electrical spikes are a form of language remains largely speculation at this stage, and the author admits that more robust study is required.

Nevertheless, I find it encouraging there continues to be a growing body of investigation into non-ordinary forms of consciousness or complex communication (such as between organisms without a typical nervous system).

Here is a link to the original study: Language of fungi derived from their electrical spiking activity.

Photo credit:  Dorothea OLDANI 

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