I've been immersing myself into the world of mushrooms of late. Its fascinating stuff I think I've gained a new found respect for our fungi friends. Not only are mushrooms one of the oldest living organisms on earth existing before plants or trees, they possess great benefits to nature and man alike as a source of food and medicine properties.
They are able to grow and reproduce without light, as well as gain energy from radiation. Additionally, they are able to process waste deposits such as oil and thrive growing foods for other insects and plants to effectively create a new ecosystem of life. As such, mycologist Paul Stamets believe fungi possesses the key in saving our world.
A particular strain of fungi that is quite mind-blowing is the Cordycep Fungi. It infects its host, manipulating and confusing it to a state where it is able to sprout from its body, and thus reproduce more spores to infect others. There are thousands of types of Cordycep fungi, where amazingly each only specialises in targeting one species. There are benefits to its cause, in that it is able to maintain control of the population of each species - natures way of balance I guess. Watch the video of the process below, presented by David Attenborough.
Its astonishing as much as I find the concept quite frightening, being something like from a sci-fi thriller.