Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fungal Networks

1.3 billion years ago fungi were the first organisms to colonize the land.  Able to digest rocks and create soils, mycelium began the ecological chain which formed a recognizable, modern Earth. 


Fungal networks are able to transport water and nutrients over great distances, recognize and alert the network to invasive organisms, as well as mount coordinated attacks on intruders and potential prey. 
When cells in the network encounter novel food sources or threats, the chemical strategy of addressing the new item is shared to other cells in the mycelium.  Additionally, fungi has the ability to preserve spatial data and re-apply the information.  This is learning and data storage...memory. 


Fungal networks can signal other species, interacting with organisms in their environments and other colonies of fungi.  Therefore this networking is not simply internal chemical signaling, it is chemical memetics.


In the words of Paul Stamets,  "Mycelium has a neurological archetype which we share as well.  Looking at the mushroom mycelium and how it is organized, it has cross-hatchings.  Computer Engineers call these 'hot points'.  For every branch length going one direction there's another branching in another direction.  This creates an alternative way of transferring information and nutrients in case of a break in the mycelial mat.  The mycelium is Earth's natural internet.  The invention of the computer internet is the inevitable consequence of a previously proven evolutionary successful model."


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