The world of Fungi: How Some Of These Resemble Corpse Fingers, UFOs, Tongues


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Categories: Nature

While foraging for mushrooms, sometimes you stumble upon some that have bizzarre shapes and sizes, some resemble body parts, ufo's and they can look like other living things—including us. 

Dead man's fingers, a type of fungus, grip dead or stressed trees, excrete a digestive enzyme into them, and then absorb the rotting material as energy.

Who'd have thought the alien invasion would be so stinkin' cute?

A new species of mushroom, Geastrum britannicum, native to the United Kingdom, was announced in the journal Persoonia earlier this year. To some, the fungi's limb-like stalks and rounded "heads" resemble tiny people.

Geastrum britannicum, a new British mushroom, found only in Norfolk

"It's more of a camera-angle thing," Debbie Viess, of the Bay Area Mycological Society in California, says via email. Viess thinks G. britannicumlooks more like mini-aliens.

(mushroom named for Spongebob Squarepants.)

At Saturday's Weird Animal Question of the Week, we were so beguiled by these 'shroom shapes that we took the author's prerogative to look into more mushrooms that take on other personas.

Dead man's fingers

"A rather anatomical presentation" is how Timothy James, a mycologist at the University of Michigan, described these funky fungi.

Called dead man's fingers, these organisms grip dead or stressed trees, excrete a digestive enzyme into them, and then absorb the rotting material as energy.

The resulting mushrooms pop up out of the ground like zombie fingers, especially in areas near dead wood.

("Phallus Mushroom Found in Lam Dong, Vietnam.")

So horror movie props literally grow on trees.

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