The blob has no mouth, but I must scream.
To be fair, it doesn't a stomach, or eyes, or feet, or anything resembling a brain, either (at least as far as modern science would define it). It's not technically a fungus, or an animal, or a planet. It is, quite simply, an incomprehensibly bizarre yellow slime mold that's also alive, and at least somewhat-sentient. Even its official scientific classification, physarum polycephalum, literally translates to "many-headed slime."
And now it's held captive and displayed at the Zoo de Paris, starting October 19.
Did I mention that this blob has some kind of intelligence, or at least the ability to remember things, and absorb knowledge from other slime mold blobs that it consumes? And that it's capable of moving independently, squishing along at a limbless rate of about 1.6 inches per hour? It also has 720 different sex organs, and will heal in two minutes if you cut it in half.
It also, apparently, loves the taste of oatmeal, as well as Acacia trees, oak bark, and chestnut bark. So um, at least it's probably not going to eat us when it ultimately escapes and seeks its revenge for being caged and mocked by us lowly humans? Maybe. If we're lucky.
"The 'blob' is a living being that is [one] of nature's mysteries. We don't really know what it is," director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, Bruno David, said, adding that it lives and grows in damp forest undergrowth away from the light.
He explained: "It behaves like an animal. It's capable of learning. If we put it in a maze, it will learn and take the best route out of the maze to find its food.
"If we put an obstacle in front of it – the 'blob' hates salt, for example – if we put a very light a barrier of salt in front of it, it won't get past it right away, even if there is food behind it. Then the 'blob' will learn how to get past the barrier and get to its food, and it will start to do this more quickly."
And yes, the Parisian scientists do in fact call it "The Blob," after the movie. (Though personally, I'd argue the Venom symbiote is a more accurate comparison.)
While this particular many-headed slime mold blob was created in a Petri dish, they can be found naturally on forest floors in mild-warm climates with incredibly high humidity. One of the oldest existing records of one is from Texas in 1973, because of course it's Texas.
The good news is, humans have been building slime mold-robot hybrids for more than a decade now, and so far, nothing's gone too awry.
(Thumbnail image by Tomasz_Mikolajczyk/Pixabay)