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Who is he ?

Point, this organism neither animal, nor plant, nor fungi is challenging our intelligence!

Written by: Richard Flament

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Forget other notions of animals, plants, and fungi, because there are organisms that are not part of any of these kingdoms. Some of these creatures may look like they came straight out of a science fiction movie. So much so that one of them was named after the 1958 American science fiction movie, The Point.

And his real name Visarum polycephalum, Dot is a living creature full of secrets. First of all, it consists of a single cell. This may sound trivial, but a single point can grow to more than 10 square meters while most unicellular organisms rarely exceed a millimeter. The point moves by deforming its body, called the plasmodium, at a speed of 1 cm/hr. To ensure the preservation of his body, he uses a venous network that constantly deforms and repairs to distribute food throughout his body. If one of these veins is cut, it reorganizes his entire body.

The point is great in several points. He has an incredible ability to improve the energy used and he is able to learn. Yes, even without a brain and without nerves, you can learn. It has been proven that the point contains some kind of memory. When he encounters a certain obstacle during his movement and has to go around it, he can later recognize it in order to improve his movements. It is possible that a point even contains spatial memory and is capable of solving complex problems such as a maze.

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In science, we are interested in the point in many aspects, but mainly for its ability to reorganize its venous system which can find many applications for humans. In fact, it might be useful to know how to reorganize the telephone network, aquifer or roads, which would otherwise suffer outages. Its exceptional ability to reorganize the network will make it possible to improve our capabilities! An experiment was conducted by placing a point on a large, flat map of Canada, with food reserves in each of the major cities. As a result, the point tracked a network similar to the Canadian Railroad. This point turned out to be incredibly clever for a single-celled organism, enough to make some organisms with brains blush!

Richard Flament

PhD student in evolutionary biology at Qatar University.

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