Physarum polycephalum is a complex single-cell organism that has no nervous system. It can learn and transfer its knowledge to its fellow slime moulds via fusion. How it did so was a mystery. Researchers at the Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale (CNRS/UT3 Paul Sabatier)1 have recently demonstrated that slime moulds learn to tolerate a substance by absorbing it.
This discovery stems from an observation: slime moulds only exchange information when their venous networks fuse. In that case, does knowledge circulate through these veins? Is it the substance that the slime mould gets used to that supports its memory?
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Memory inception and preservation in slime moulds : the quest for a common mechanism.
A. Broussard, J. Delescluse, A. Pérez-Escudero et A. Dussutour.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B le 22 avril 2019.
CNRS Researcher, CRCA / CBI-Toulouse