The communication methods between plants are fascinating. Knowing that trees can communicate with each other thanks to their roots, a more recent study just showed that fungi could also “talk.” And their vocabulary would be nearly 50 “words”!
In his study published April 6 in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Andrew Adamatzky, a British researcher, describes how fungi exchange electrical signals with each other. A “language” that would resemble human speech. For this, the researcher analyzed four types of mushrooms: the enoki, the split gill, the ghost and the caterpillar.
Previous research has suggested that fungi produce electrical impulses through their roots, long underground filaments called hyphae. This would be similar to the way nerve cells transmit information to humans, explains the guard†
The rate of fire of these pulses would increase when the hyphae come into contact with wooden blocks, suggesting the fungi use this electrical “language” to share information about food or the risk of possible injury.
A language close to that of humans?
To learn more about how fungi communicate, Professor Andrew Adamatzky of the University of Bristol’s Unconventional Computing Laboratory inserted microelectrodes into their roots. The aim is to study the models of “electrical spikes” generated by plants.
The study reveals that these peaks cluster in “trains of activity,” similar to a vocabulary that can contain up to 50 words. Rather, the distribution of these “fungus word lengths” would strangely resemble that of human languages.
“The most likely reasons for these waves of electrical activity are to preserve the integrity of the fungi – analogous to wolves howling to preserve the integrity of the pack”suggests the researcher. “There is also another option – they don’t say anything”‘ he added humbly.
To Andrew Adamatzky, these “electric spikes” are undoubtedly not random, so it necessarily means something.
For its part, the scientific community is waiting for more evidence. “Although interesting, interpreting as a language seems somewhat over-enthusiastic and would require a lot more research and critical hypothesis testing before the ‘Mushroom’ language appears on Google Translate,” jokes Dan Bebber, associate professor of life sciences at the University of Exeter.
Be that as it may, one certainty: nature never ceases to amaze us! Did you like this article? Discover why it is urgent to recognize animal intelligences.