Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 09:34, 21 June 2013 by Davidy22 (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have an explanation for all 5 xkcd comics, and only 0 (0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Evolutionarily speaking, mushrooms are technically a type of ghost.
Title text: Evolutionarily speaking, mushrooms are technically a type of ghost.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Other interpretations of the growling mushroom and the ghost in the title text, or more on the existing may be relevant...

Cueball is looking at a mushroom contemplating how weird they are when Megan adds another layer to their weirdness by supplying the trivia that evolutionarily, mushrooms (actually fungi) are closer to the animal kingdom than to plants on the tree of life. (Note that, technically, mushrooms themselves are only the fruiting body of the fungi. A mushroom is only part of a fungus, in the same way an apple is only part of a tree. The majority of the fungus grows beneath the soil, in a part of the fungus called the mycelium, which is composed of root-like structures called hyphae.)

Both animals and fungi are part of the opisthokont group, while plants are in archaeplastida group with the algae. This surprises Cueball, as he like many other people is likely to think of mushrooms as plants as they are "grown" just like other crops. But what people with this misconception often fail to remember are facts like the fact that the edible mushrooms like Agaricus bisporus (or white mushroom) are farmed in caves without any sunlight, which is a prerequisite for almost any plant life, as almost all plants need to be able to use photosynthesis to grow, and thus needs sunlight. (There are a few exceptions, such as Monotropa uniflora, which are parasitic upon the mycorrhizal fungi that are symbiotic with other nearby photosynthetic plants.)

Megan then walks away, and Cueball, after pondering the mushroom a while further, gets up and walks away too. But as soon as Cueball has his back turned the mushroom growls after him. Cueball spins around to look back at the now again silent mushroom. This is a bit of absurdist humor; while mushrooms are technically more animal-like than plant-like (they are eukaryotic organisms that do not use photosynthesis) fungi are still so far removed from animals they wouldn't have any of the body parts needed to growl. For that matter, most animals lack the parts needed to growl. Cueball's shock and astonishment is quite justified, and maybe it was just his imagination running wild after Megan's trivia.

The title text takes this further, by stating that mushrooms are technically a type of ghost. Arguably, since they arise from decaying remains. The title text may refer to 1240: Quantum Mechanics or 1475: Technically.


[Cueball is squatting in front of a group of four mushrooms (two tiny, one small and one large), touching the top of the nearest and largest mushroom with a finger. This mushroom has several small dots, which becomes more visible in later panels. The other three mushrooms do not appear to have these dots. Megan is standing behind him looking on.]
Cueball: Mushrooms are so weird.
Megan: You know, evolutionarily, they're closer to being animals than to plants.
[Megan starts walking away as Cueball now leans on the ground with the hand he touched the mushroom with. Only the large mushroom is visible in this and the rest of the panels.]
Cueball: ...Really?
Megan: Yup!
[In a frame-less panel Cueball still squats in front of the mushroom, now resting his hand on his knees.]
[Cueball stands up looking down at the mushroom.]
[Cueball is walking away as the mushroom makes a sound indicated with several small lines emanating from the top of the mushroom along with a regular speech line.]
Mushroom: Grrrr
[Cueball snaps around to look at the mushroom again, standing in a prepared state arms slightly out and legs spread out as well.]

<--Mentioning that mushrooms are closer to animals than plants-->

Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • If see that a new comic hasn't yet been explained yet, you can create it: Here's how.


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?