Scientists from the University of the West of England conducted an experiment that showed that mushrooms are able to communicate with each other using electrical impulses. Mushrooms do not seem like ideal conversation partners. New research devoted to them, however, suggests that communication among them is surprisingly developed. To find out, the scientists implanted electrodes into four different species of fungi. In this way, they proved that they communicate with each other by means of electrical impulses. These allow you to send information on access to food or injuries.
Mushrooms can communicate in surprisingly human-like ways
However, this is not the strangest thing. The authors of the research noticed an unusual similarity between the communication of mushrooms and humans. Signals are so complex that they resemble words that we use in everyday conversations. Scientists even came to the conclusion that if the mushrooms had their own dictionary, it would have around 50 entries. For "uttering" these words these organisms use hyphae. This is the term used to describe long, thread-like elements that tend to branch.
Earlier, experts on this subject noticed that mushrooms create an increased amount of electrical impulses when they encounter a new source of food. This suggested that they would notify their neighbors about their findings in this way. It was not, however, whether such signals resemble to some extent human language. As part of the designed experiment, the team led by Adam Adamatzky focused on four mushrooms: enoki, common cleft, Chinese cordyceps and a species known as Omphalotus nidiformis.
Each of these organisms was equipped with electrodes, thanks to which it was possible to measure electrical activity. The conclusions on this were then published in the Royal Society Open Science. Researchers noted that sudden spikes in activity formed patterns of sorts. They resembled simple messages, consisting of up to 50 words in total. It has never happened, however, that a single mushroom made use of more than 15-20 such elements. The most advanced communication among all four appeared to be in the common cleft.
Some scientists remain skeptical
At the same time, it is worth keeping a certain distance from the latest reports. There is a possibility that the recorded activity is not at all related to attempts to communicate. Part of the scientific community remains skeptical because such jumps have been recorded before and were then associated with the process of transporting nutrients by fungi. For this reason, we should not exclude a scenario according to which the signals are the result of, for example, getting food, and not an attempt at communication between mushrooms.