Slimy discovery

September 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

When I was a kid, life was certainly easier—and so were biological discoveries. Case in point: these elegant sporangia atop minuscule threads were, I could say then with confidence, members of the vast Kingdom Fungi. Of course, without considerable training in mycology, which I would eventually obtain, I couldn't delineate the exact membership status, but at least I could get the viewer into the proper taxonomic neighborhood. Alas, things change, and with considerable research into the DNA of the slime molds, well, these molds have lost their mushroom status. In fact, these days, a number of them are considered to be forms of amoebae: single-celled for most of their lives but, when conditions are right, happy to aggregate into a fungus-like slime out of which arise these elegant, spore-bearing reproductive structures that will give rise to the next generation of single-celled amoeboid protists. It's certainly confusing, but that's OK. Confusion keeps me learning.


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