2,500 year old, 881,849 pound, Quarter-Square Mile Super Mushroom


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 13 December 2018

AMAZING LIFE

Super Shroom

2,500 year old, 881,849 pound, Quarter-Square Mile Super Mushroom

'Humongous fungus': 25 years later, this Armillaria gallica is bigger than first thought, says researcher,
Physorg, University of Toronto, November 14, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Discovered
“In 1992...estimated that the honey mushroom, which is growing in a forest on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, was 1,500 years old, weighed 100,000 kilograms and covered 15 hectares.

Today’s Estimate
“Using current research and analytic techniques...that the mushroom is at least 2,500 years old, weighs 400,000 kilograms and covers about 70 hectares.”

"I view these estimates as the lower bound."

Mushroom Tech
“...A. gallica, like most fungi, produces mushrooms above ground, it also has a network of underground tendrils called the mycelium that keeps the fungus alive by searching for food sources. The mycelium feeds on soil or decaying plant matter. A. gallica's tendrils are organized into organs called rhizomorphs and, unlike other fungi, its rhizomorphs also seek out live wood as a source of nourishment. Armillaria can infect a live tree until it dies and then continues feeding on it afterward.”

"It has a large role in decaying wood and in causing root disease."

And Genetics…
"I assumed it would still be there nearly three decades on and realized it would be a great opportunity to study the dynamics of naturally occurring mutations in a cell population that is spatially organized."

The Genetic Mutation Quest
“...sample the fungus and compare it to a reference genome to see whether variation had occurred over time and discern the extent of that variation.”

Genetically Stable
“...the mutation rate was very low and that even frequently occurring mutations "didn't have much of an impact on the fitness of the organism or on its appearance.”

“...we think that tells us is that there must be some mechanism by which the fungus protects itself from mutations."

What Makes Slow Shrooms Different from Cancer Cells?
“...it would be an interesting exercise to examine the DNA mechanisms at work in stable A. gallica and in cancer cells, which are highly unstable.”

 

 

Contexting the Supershroom

Weight

400,000 kilograms is 881,849 pounds, which is 440.924, "short," US tons.

To put this, "displacement," into context, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier displaces 115,700 tons. The 440 tons of the Supershroom makes it equal to the weight of a mighty naval task force.

Area

70 hectares

172.97 acres

172.97 acres is .27 of a square mile, an area who's sides, if squared-up, would each be 1,425.6 feet.

The length of the Nimitz-class carrier (Wiki) is 1,092 feet.

All right, this thing needs a name. I've leaned towards, "Supershroom," but I also am partial to, "The Michigan Monster," too...

I imagine that the dude that discovered it, named it, "Holy Shit!", exclaimed when he first understood this 'Shroom's extent, over both time and space!

 

 

Also See

Oct, 2018

Pando in Trouble: Massive organism is crashing on our watch

 

Feb, 2017

Pando Rescue Plan

 

 

 

Fungus Forum

 

 

 

December 2018 News of Man & Nature

 

 

 

 

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vast ancient michigan mushroom

 

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