Difference between revisions of "1749: Mushrooms"

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(Not agreeing with my self still something that could be discussed, so still incomplete but updating reason)
(Explanation)
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The title text takes this further, by stating that mushrooms are technically a type of {{w|ghost}}. Arguably, since they arise from decaying remains. The title text may refer to [[1475: Technically]].
 
The title text takes this further, by stating that mushrooms are technically a type of {{w|ghost}}. Arguably, since they arise from decaying remains. The title text may refer to [[1475: Technically]].
  
This comic was published later in the same week as the [[what if?]] ''{{what if|152|Flood Death Valley}}'', which referred a lot to strange records and trivia. It was the first what if? post in almost three month, the longest break between two post during 2016 (and third longest of all time at the time of its release), and it thus seems realistic that there should be some kind of connection between that and this comic, which fits with Megan supplying a trivia many people would not know.
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This comic was published later in the same week as the [[what if?]] ''{{what if|152|Flood Death Valley}}'', which referred a lot to strange records and trivia. It was the first what if? post in almost three months, the longest break between two posts during 2016 (and third longest of all time at the time of release). It is plausible that there is some a connection between said what if? and this comic, which is fitting due to the lack of common knowledge about mushroom genealogy.
  
 
==Transcript==
 
==Transcript==

Revision as of 22:05, 21 October 2016

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

Explanation

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...
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
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 are closer to the animal kingdom than to plants on the tree of life.

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 is that the edible mushrooms like Agaricus bisporus (or white mushroom) are farmed in caves without any sunlight, which is a prerequisite for any plant life, as all plants need to be able to use photosynthesis to grow, and thus needs sunlight.

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 (eukaryotic organisms do not use photosynthesis) fungi are still so far removed from animals they wouldn't have any of the body 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 1475: Technically.

This comic was published later in the same week as the what if? Flood Death Valley, which referred a lot to strange records and trivia. It was the first what if? post in almost three months, the longest break between two posts during 2016 (and third longest of all time at the time of release). It is plausible that there is some a connection between said what if? and this comic, which is fitting due to the lack of common knowledge about mushroom genealogy.

Transcript

[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.]


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Discussion

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). 108.162.216.61 13:55, 21 October 2016 (UTC)

C-C-C-Combo Breaker! PeanutVendor (talk) 14:08, 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). 162.158.85.171 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. 162.158.69.184 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)

Growl

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.

162.158.239.82 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)

--162.158.150.228 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.--108.162.219.11 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). 162.158.74.105 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)

Thinking on a tangent, is Cueball on shrooms? -- Vnagpal (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Thinking on a cotangent, is Cueball under shrooms? -- int (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
<--Mentioning that mushrooms are closer to animals than plants-->