What is November's mystery sound?

A planet? Ultra-sonic animals? A crocodile? Can you beat our experts?
16 November 2021


Sound waveform



Your clues are:

  • This isn't a noise you can normally hear with your ears.
  • I used to only exist in the tropics, but now I can be found all over the world.
  • I live on deadwood and I'm currently being studied for drugs to treat cancer.
  • And the final clue; this is a fun guy to have in your kitchen.

What do you think the answer is?


We presented this sound to a panel of scientists to see if they could figure out what it was. Give it a listen and see if you can identify the sound faster than this group of experts.
Have you solved it?
The answer is a shiitake mushroom. These sounds are produced by living fungi. Shiitake mushrooms still attached to their mycelium bodies as part of an art installation by Michael Prime. All living organisms produce a faint electrical current as they move ions in and out of their cells, and what Michael did is he used tiny electrical sensors so that this current controlled an oscillator to produce the sound you heard, that is, the sound of the shiitaki mushroom growing.


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