- Meaning of the title text?
The way I'm reading this comic, there are several possible meanings to the title text. One definition of "ghost" is "a faint trace of something" - it's possible that mushrooms are a faint trace of whatever other species bridged the gap between plants and animals.
Alternately, it could just be Randall's way of saying not to trust any sentence beginning with the phrase "Evolutionarily speaking" (see comics 1240, 1475). 220.127.116.11 13:55, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
Disagree with stated meaning. Yes, fungi consume dead matter but that would relate them to zombies not ghosts. Suggest that its a reference to asexual reproduction in fungi, that new fungi are born from the broken bodies of its parents. Kev (talk) 17:05, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
I think it is mostly just poking fun at the "X is actually a kind of Y" facts. The specific choice of "ghost" may be completely random, or may have some internal logic, but it's not the main point even if it does. I remember reading a similar joke in a Discworld novel (The Last Continent I believe), where it is said that banana is not a fruit, but a species of fish. Randall references DW from time to time, so it is likely he has read this joke and consciously or unconsciously copied it. Jaalenja (talk) 12:34, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
Some mushrooms are more or less ghost-shaped. Omphalotus nidiformis is a glow-in-the-dark mushroom that is also called ghost fungus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalotus_nidiformis). 18.104.22.168 12:49, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
Since this cartoon came out in October, ghost may also be a seasonal choice, related to fall and Halloween. Mushrooms are sometimes associated with fall and graveyards. Dead Man's Fingers is a kind of mushroom. 22.214.171.124 00:37, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
I took the reference to evolution and Ghosts as a reference to Pokemon. In this case though a mushroom looks like a grass type (plant) it is actually closer to a ghost type. Davem33 (talk) 01:16, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Not sure I agree with the explanation of the growl. In the first frame cueball insults the mushroom as Megan explains they are more like animals; the casual/layperson implication there is that, while not necessarily sentient, they are more able to respond to surrounding stimuli (like being aware of being called weird.) So the punchline in the penultimate frame has this not-vegetable more-like-animal mushroom "animate" ... growl IronyChef (talk) 15:03, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
You can also look at the growl from a much simpler viewpoint, especially if you have a pet at home: It could be that the mushroom (which you have just found out is closer to an animal than a plant), enjoyed being touched by cueball - almost like a dog likes to be petted. When cueball stopped and walked away, the mushroom got upset and growled at him, much like a dog would get upset if it was enjoying the petting and you stopped! -edit: oops forgot to sign! Bon (talk) 08:17, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
(wild guess) The growl could also be related to predation. As is stated in the explanation, mushrooms can get their sustenance from living matter. Maybe cueball turning his back causes the mushroom to prepare to pounce on him from behind.
126.96.36.199 14:16, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
- Differences mushroom/plants
Just for a quick overview:
- cell walls in mushrooms consist of chitin (like the exoskeletons of insects) and polysaccharids. Plants have cells walls made from cellulose, animals have cell walls made of protein.
- mushrooms are heterotrophic (they need to take up chemical energy from outside of the body) like animals; while plants use sunlight. Though, some fungi have turned to sunlight or gamma rays (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus).
- each fungal cell is simple in structure and function, unlike plants which have much more specialized "organs" (leaves, flowers, roots)
--188.8.131.52 16:16, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
- Animals do not have cell walls. All cells (including Plant, fungi and animals) have cell membranes made of lipids with embedded proteins. As above, plants and fungi have cell walls in addition to a cell membrane. Some other things such as bacteria (which are not animals) also have cell walls made of various substances.--184.108.40.206 16:55, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
Also note plants are eukaryotic so it's not fair to say "(eukaryotic organisms do not use photosynthesis)". The definition of a eukaryote is the presence of a nucleus not anything to do with heterotrophs (eat others for food) vs. autotrophs (produce their own food). 220.127.116.11 21:35, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
Actually some plants can grow without light, which is parasitic and can't photosythesize at all. Also Rhubarb is grown in the dark (using prestored energy) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhubarb_Triangle Halfhat (talk) 22:04, 21 October 2016 (UTC)