Research Suggests Mushrooms Talk to Each Other With a Vocabulary of 50 ‘Words’:
Mycologists studying the underground filaments of fungi are observing electrical signals similar to a nervous system: a normal phenomenon, except that they found the signals were remarkably similar to human language. When filaments called ‘hyphae’ of a wood-digesting fungal species discover a bit of wood to munch on the underground, the hyphae begin to light up with “spikes” of electrical signals that reach out to the hyphae of other individuals, and even trees. To see what characteristics these electrical impulse spikes share with the nervous system language of other lifeforms, Adamatzky put tiny electrodes into pieces of material, feeding on which were four species: enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar fungi. The authors set the electrical spikes against a series of human linguistic phenomena that were used to successfully decode part of the carved language of the Picts, the Bronze Age people of Scotland. The average length of a human-expressed vowel is between 300 and 70 milliseconds, and so they assumed that if there was a 0-millisecond break between spikes, that was part of the same “word.” It was found that the C. militaris fungi electrical signals were almost identical to the English language more than Greek and averaged around 50 words based on repetitive signals. The researchers believe that these signal structures are meant to keep the connection between mycelium strong so that communication is seamless between their large communication networks across the forest. However, Adamatzky explained that the electrical signals could also be a result of the fungi exploring the forest underground.