evolution, slime molds, and life as we know it.

i have an idea… a dangerous concept i know, but i am going to let it out anyway.

i was reading in a biology book that there is a type of ameoba that, when times are tough, bands together into a slime mold type configuration to conserve water. the mold scwerms around untill it finds a godd place to stop, and than forms into a ball-on-a-stick type structure and assemble spores from all the ameobas at the top of the ball. the ball than bursts, distributing the spores much farther than if one ameoba did it alone. now this got me thinking, the ameobas were not directly related and they were all the same (i.e. not specialized) but is it possible that if you put one ameoba by itself, away from all others, and let him reproduce(asexualy) resulting in millions of identical ameobas, that when they formed their little slime mold, thhatit would be a multicellular organism? are we just a bunch of single celled organisms that stayed together long enough to specialize our cells?? has any one heard this thery (sp?) before? is this just an example of evolution in progress? help me! this has been bugging me for a long time.

Slime molds are not amoebas. They just look and act like them. In some genera of myxomycetes the feeding stage of their life (the plasmodium) is more, um, diffuse than others. Most slime molds ooze along as a lump of jelly composed of amoeboid cells. Some don’t bother keeping their cells together, finding it easier to stay fed if each cell forages for itself. It is not a band of unrelated amoebas that form the fruiting body, they are the individual cells of one genetic individual.
Slime molds are fascinating organisms. Different species, or single species in different environments, show incredible variation in reproductive and feeding behaviors. A single species can switch from haploid to diploid reproduction depending on its immediate environment.
“Evolution in progress?” No more than any other living population. The myxomycetes are an enigmatic group, and they don’t fit neatly into standard taxonomies, as they show distinctive characteristics of both fungi and animals.
Oh, and animals probably went mulitcellular by subdividing their single cell, as opposed to plants who mostly got multicellular by forming colonies of single cells.

Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Associate Curator Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
“You cannot reason a man out of a position that he did not reach through reason.”

      • “Ball-on-a-Stick” slime mold: There was an article about this in , uh , Discover or Sci. American a while back. - I don’t know that they had any more understanding of exactly what happens, than they did when it was originally observed. The article had nice photos though. - Highly wierd. - MC