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PART 1. Respond to the Unit 2 Discussion Post. Your comments should be at least 150 words and needs to add to the discussion. Use the original post as a starting point and see where you can add to the conversation – this will require research. Be sure to cite your source of information to receive full credit and cite it correctly (MLA or APA format)
* Also use credible sources (Wikipedia will not be accepted as a source!)
ORIGINAL POST BELOW
My inspiration for my discussion today is the HBO show “The Last of Us.” If you haven’t seen the show, it is basically an apocalyptic world where fungi have taken over. It’s a fungal infestation of mankind, think zombie apocalypse but with mushrooms growing out of their heads. Which of course made me wonder; could this actually happen?
The particular fungus in the show that takes over is called are called cordyceps. they are a very real fungus in today’s world as well, however they are not capable of surviving within the body of a human. Cordyceps are parasitic fungi that are generally known for taking over the bodies of insects such as ants. So, while the concept of the show happens on a much smaller scale than what they illustrate, is it possible that these fungi could mutate to the point that they could in fact infest humans?
Scientists say, “it’s improbable.” The main reasons being due to climate change and how fungi function reproductively. The primary reason creatures such as insects, plants, and amphibians tend to be prone to fungal diseases is their cooler temperatures or inability to regulate their own body temperatures. Which is why you don’t see fungal infections in warm body creatures such as humans. It’s not the ideal habitat for fungi. Also are immune systems just tend to be much stronger. Also, most fungi probably wouldn’t be able to penetrate the tissues of a human.
There are however certain fungal infections that human’s do tend to get because they thrive in warmer temperatures. Candida for instance is a type of yeast fungus that produces things such as thrush. You can also thank fungi for athlete’s foot.
In reality Cordyceps infect insects via spores. The spore lands on an ant and takes over its body, kills it, and produces new life and new spores. In the show, the people infect one another with bites and tendrils. Which this alone could ruin the plausibility of something like this actually happening. Overall, the amount of mutation that would have to occur in Cordyceps for them to be able to take over the bodies of humans and cause an apocalyptic world seems to be highly unlikely.
“A Scientific Investigation of ‘the Last of Us’ Fungal Pandemic.” CNET, https://www.cnet.com/science/biology/features/a-scientific-investigation-of-the-last-of-us-fungal-pandemic/.
PART 2. Watch the TED Talk “The World’s Oldest Living Things” by Rachel Sussman and read your classmates post and in at least 150 words respond with new information in this discussion forum.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW
The Ted Talk I watched was “The World’s Oldest Living Things” by Rachel Sussman, I thought this ted talk was very interesting and educational. It starts off by talking about one of the oldest living shrubs, the llareta, in the Atacama Desert in. This shrub is over 3,000 years old. Sussman’s project was to find species of 2,000 years or older, her mission was to find out how plants affect the earth and keep living after so many years without any evolutionary changes. She visits a 2,180-year-old tree in Japan and states “… looking at the tree was like visiting a more innocent time of the planet. Overall this Ted Talk goes over intriguing specimens that are still alive today. I am relating this back to class for a section of chapter 31, how land plants have changed the earth. A billion years ago earth’s surface was bare and the origin of land plants helped cover that surface and was responsible for many things. Land plants are essential for the development of substantial soils, the rise of modern levels of atmospheric oxygen, the evolution of modern plants, and animals colonizing land. This ted talk helps put some idea of the kind of plants that have survived for long periods of time, enough to help create ecosystems on our earth. We are able to find out the age of these ancient plants by using molecular and fossil data to put plant ages in chronological order and have a general idea of when a specific plant appeared. Racheal Sussman goes into great detail about each and every immemorial specimen, stating facts about them and how they have been an impact on our earth. I found this video very interesting learning about Earth’s oldest plants and finding out their impact on the evolution of the earth.
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