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October 9 2012
The living slime that may have been the muse for the 1958 science-fiction film The Blob just got creepier: Evidence has emerged that slime mold, a brainless single-celled organism, has a form of memory.
In experiments with the slime mold Physarum polycephalum, scientists at the University of Sydney noticed that the life-form avoided retracing its own paths. They began to suspect that the slime was using "externalized spatial memory" to navigate.
"The slime mold leaves behind a trail of slime everywhere it goes, which it can then detect later to recognize areas it has already been," said biologist Chris Reid.
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