Magazine
Latest Issue

The magic of mushrooms forces us to rethink what intelligence means

The astonishing secrets of fungal life raise profound questions

By Philip Ball   November 2020

Photo: biodiversity heritage library/public domain

One of biology’s enduring struggles since Darwin’s time has been to throw off the hierarchy in which all living things are judged by their proximity to the supposed pinnacle of evolution: humans. If we measure evolutionary success in terms of sheer biomass, bacteria outweigh all animals on Earth by a factor of about 35, while the humble fungi exceed the world’s fauna by around sixfold. Evolution, as the biologist Stephen Jay Gould unflaggingly tried to explain, has no overarching goal: it is not…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect