Scientists are baffled by a mysterious yellow blob with ‘720 sexes’

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A zoo in Paris has got scientists scratching their heads after revealing a strange organism known only as the ‘blob’.

The living organism appears to be a slimy mould, but experts say it acts like an animal.

Although it has no mouth, stomach or eyes it can apparently digest food.

Known as Physarum polycephalum, it also moves (despite not having arms or legs) and is able to heal itself in under two minutes if it gets cut in half.

The blob has been put on display by the Paris Zoological Park, which claims that it has 720 sexes. Although, that’s probably a bit misleading. What they mean – according to Tanya Latty, a slime mold researcher at the University of Sydney –  is that the blob has 720 known mating types.

‘Whether or not a slime mold can mate with another slime mold depends on its mating type which is determined by particular genes,’ Letty told Cnet.

Bruno David, director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, confirmed that the origins and structure of the blob has scientists baffled. ‘The blob is a living being which belongs to one of nature’s mysteries,’ he said.

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‘It surprises us because it has no brain but is able to learn, and if you merge two blobs, the one that has learned will transmit its knowledge to the other.’

The unicellular being is believed to be about a billion years old.

The blob is a unicellular being that’s a billion years old (Reuters)
Petri dishes containing cultures of Physarum Polycephalum better known as the blob (AFP)

The blob was named after a 1958 science-fiction horror B-movie, starring a young Steve McQueen, in which an alien life form – The Blob – consumes everything in its path in a small Pennsylvania town.

‘We know for sure it is not a plant but we don’t really if it’s an animal or a fungus,’ said David.

‘It behaves very surprisingly for something that looks like a mushroom (…) it has the behaviour of an animal, it is able to learn.’

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