Fen Fungi | Jonathan Revett

Human-Shaped Mushrooms Confirmed As Unique Species After 15 Years

While I'm often at my most comfortable at home, others prefer to spend their time exploring the great outdoors. And although there is a lot to love about what nature has to show us, we're always going to have our favorites.

They may not get as much widespread appreciation as flowers, but a pretty passionate community has found a clear favorite in mushrooms. There are so many out there with so many different properties, uses, and dangers that hunting for them can feel a lot like trying to get as many Pokémon as possible.

I'd say it's a less nerdy version of that, but it's probably more accurate to call it "differently nerdy."

Anyway, while one man doesn't exactly claim to be an expert mycologist, the discovery he happened upon even stumped those who could claim that for a very long time.

While he was exploring the Fens of Norfolk, England back in 2000, Jonathan Revett discovered a fascinating mushroom.

Fen Fungi | Jonathan Revett

Although it already appeared unique when it was "fresh and fleshy" in his words, this mushroom named Geastrum britannicum takes on its signature characteristic when it dries out a little.

As you can see, the less fresh they get, the more these mushroom appear to be standing around with their arms at their sides.

Fen Fungi | Jonathan Revett

As Revett told The Daily Mirror, "They do look like little mushroom men. It's really strange how their shape makes them look like they have a head and arms. That's what drew my attention to them."

As wild as they look, though, experts at the time weren't ready to call them a new mushroom species.

Wikimedia Commons | Dan Molter

As The New Yorker reported, they instead thought the mushrooms were just a variant of the rayed earthstar, the mushroom pictured above.

Indeed, there is some resemblance, but it turns out that it's not quite close enough.

Although it took 15 years to confirm a significant difference, a group of mycologists in Spain did just that.

Fen Fungi | Jonathan Revett

As The Daily Mirror reported, they carried out a DNA sequence analysis and determined that they were just different enough from the rayed earthstar to count as their own species.

As Revett said, "It felt brilliant knowing I'd found something new. I wouldn't normally question the experts but I just knew these were different."

h/t: The Daily Mirror

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