Saturday, November 2, 2019

A New Exhibit in Paris: The Blob

Image result for slime mold

Environmental & Science Education
History of Science
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler

The Paris Zoological Park has a new display which they have dubbed the "blob." The organism has no mouth or gut or eyes or legs/arms/wings but it can detect food, digest it and is sensitive to light. It is a slime mold (Physarum polycephalum).

When I think of slime molds I think of John Tyler Bonner who spent his research career studying one of the slime mold groups (Dictyostellium discoideuma). He died earlier this year at the age of 98 and was remarkably active until his death. The Princeton University press release announcing his death describes his career and his contributions to organismal biology and evolutionary biology.

If you are interested in learning more about Bonner and his work, Life Cycles: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist, is a remarkable read. It gives you an idea of what a life in science is like. His take on biology as a science is that it is a study of life cycles.

Here is a short videoof the blob which interweaves footage (naturally) from the original drive-in favorite, The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and Aneta Corseaut.

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