Slime Mold "Remembers" with External Memory


Photo: Tanya Letty

A slime mold, which is neither slime nor mold, has no brain. But that doesn't mean it cannot remember things. You see, it has an "external" memory system:

In their experiment, Mr Reid and colleagues observed the slime mould exploring the dish, leaving a trail of slime behind wherever it went.

According to the scientists, this slime trail was key to the organism's path-finding because it acted like a trail-marker, comparable to Hansel and Gretel's trail of breadcrumbs.

They found that the slime mould did not revisit areas it had already investigated.

"In essence, the slime mould is memorising where it has been - storing this memory in the external environment and recalling the information when it later touches the slime-coated area," said Mr Reid.

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