What is Mycology?

Hello Defenders! Here we're going to talk about something you might have heard of, but probably don't know too well...Mycology, the study of fungi! While a botanist studies plants, and a zoologist studies animals, a mycologist is a person who studies the world of fungi. Mycologists try and learn the biochemical traits of these organisms, as well as how humans have interacted with and used fungi throughout history! Most of us instantly think of mushrooms when somebody says fungi, but yeast and mold among other organisms are also in this group.

Mycology had always been considered a branch of Botany, because it was only a few decades ago that we learned fungi are evolutionarily closer to animals than plants! Fungi play a very unique role in the world because of their traits that keep them separate from plants and animals. Mycologists dedicate their study to learning more about these unique organisms, and seeing how they relate to those two other eukaryotic groups!

 

It is believed that humans have interacted with mushrooms and fungi since prehistoric times even, but it wasn't until the 1700-1800's that Mycology became its own real scientific field. The field of Mycology has led to some amazing discoveries that have helped mankind, especially in the field of medicine. Penicillin is just one of many famous medicines we've gained through the study of Mycology!

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