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Mushrooms Will Help Humans Survive The Apocalypse

With the way the world is going, it seems like the apocalypse isn't far off. Climate change, Trump, nuclear war, asteroids, a Artificial Intelligence takeover ... the list is long, and it feels like it's only a matter of time before one of these threats sends us into a scenario predicted by science fiction. If you're a pessimist like me, and believe the end is only a few generations (or less) away, I've got some good news: humans will be able to survive extinction after the apocalypse. How? Mushrooms

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  • picture yellow mushrooms among grass
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    You may or may not like them on your pizza, but mushrooms are the most durable organism out there. When a killer asteroid hit the earth 66 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs, creating a cloud that covered the Earth and blocked out the sun, lowering the Earth's temperature and effectively killing most plant life, fungi survived (FYI, fungi is a kingdom, like animals or plants, and mushrooms are a type of fungi). 

    What about nuclear radiation, you ask? Nothing can survive that. Wrong. Fungi eats radiation. Literally eats it. Mushrooms are growing in Chernobyl right now and loving it. 


  • person holding wrinkly mushrooms
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    Via Fungi

    So what's the deal? Why are fungi indestructible? 

    Fungi live by decomposing organic matter (such as dead trees, decomposing leaves, dung, soil and even dead animals and humans - but lets not go into that). They absorb nutrients from their environment by extending hyphae (a branching filament) into nearby materials and breaking them down with digestive enzymes. Another strength of fungi is that they don't contain chlorophyll, so they don't need sunlight to grow. 

    Also, not only do fungi eat radiation; they thrive on it. Perhaps because they are older than plants, animals and almost all other organisms on Earth, they have a high tolerance against radiation (there was a much higher level of radiation on Earth in it's early days). 


  • lions mane mushroom growing on a tree
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    Via Shahman

    What does this all mean for humans? In the event of a nuclear war, asteroid collision, supervolcano eruption or other event that could block out the sun, our main source of food - plants - would die off almost immediately because they need photosynthesis to live. This in turn would mean that all animals would eventually die out, and humans, at the top of the food chain, would be left with neither plants nor animals to eat.  

    Except we wouldn't be left with nothing. We would have mushrooms (and a few other much less delicious things like rats and cockroaches). 


  • miatake mushroom growing on tree
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    Luckily for us, mushrooms are one of the most nutritious foods in the world. Mushrooms have been used as medicine and for getting nutrition for thousands of years all over the world. Mushrooms are great sources of fiber and protein, they contain B vitamins, potassium, copper and selenium, and have many antioxidants. They are also proven to improve immunity, act as anti-inflammatories, and are probiotic (meaning they're great for your gut). 

    Although there are some poisonous mushrooms, most mushrooms are safe to eat, and recognizing the edible mushrooms isn't hard once you know what you're looking for (hopefully a few mushroom foraging guides will survive the apocalypse). 


  • edible wild mushrooms growing on tree stump
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    So if you're worried about the impending apocalypse or disaster that will wipe out humanity's source of food and chance of survival, have hope: mushrooms will always be around. If you don't like the taste of mushrooms, you'd better start getting used to them. You never know when sh*t will hit the fan. 

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