Scientists found that mushrooms “talk” using electrical impulses that spike when fungi come into contact with food sources or potential dangers.
When Lewis Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, he explored unimaginable scenarios such as smoking cats and talking mushrooms. While none were rooted in science at the time, new research shows that mushrooms really do communicate with each other — and have a vocabulary of up to 50 words.
According to a study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, scientists have revealed these organisms to be nature’s most unexpected chatterboxes. With Andrew Adamatzky — a professor with the Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of the West of England — at the helm, the study focused on four species of fungi.
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.