Friday, April 27, 2012

Gross! (Pilobolus)

It's Oddment 144 today, so of course I had to draw something kinda gross. (Forgive me...) Luckily I have a new friend (we met at our local Hoop Jam) who provided the perfect substrate for today's oddment outgrowth!  Alissa Bernholc is a scientist-poet, a biostatistician who has written a wonderful collection of poems called The Other Kingdoms. Here's the Introduction: 

Pieces of glass have brought to light
A secret world beyond your sight.

And everywhere you dare to look
You’ll see what clever Leeuwenhoek

Has seen before. He magnified
Strange creatures all and so he spied

The protozoa and the yeasts,
All kinds of tiny living beasts,

Bacteria, and algae too,
Even cells in me and you.

And here's the particular poem that inspired this image: 


Pilobolus lives on horse's dung,
Not dog's or man's or mice.
Sporangial hats up high are flung
To land on something nice.

Pilobolus are particular.
No common dung will do.
The scenery is spectacular
On soft sweet horse's doo!

Thank you so much, Alissa, for permission to use your work! Both poems are copyright Alissa Bernholc. Please contact Alissa if you'd like to reprint or see more. Also, Alissa would like to point out a slight amendment: Pilobolus can live on other herbivore dung as well as horse's. But not dog's or man's or mice. ;-)

Of course, the real Pilobolus doesn't have faces, unless you're talking about the brilliant dance company of that name. It was named after the fungus because one of the founders had been researching it. Here's an appropriately biological sample of their highly inventive work. I've seen them perform several times over the years & they never fail to cast all sorts of delightful new spores into my brain. 


  1. Thanks for this wonderful post!! And the great links!!

  2. Yeah, that is gross, but it makes me smile. Love the poetry and your oddment :)

  3. You live in a very strange world... :o)

  4. Microbes, bacteria and viruses are some of the most amazing organisms in this world. I would like you to paint edwardsiella! So pretty. Pilobolus looks fantastic. What can I say? I am actually writing a modification the the multiple drug resistant organisms (MDRO) rule module I wrote three years ago :) Have a great weekend!