It sounds like something out of 1950s science fiction: a strange, blob-like organism that's made up of one giant cell and which can learn from experience despite having no brain.
French scientists studying the slime mould - named Physarum polycephalum - have also proven it can transmit what it has learned to a fellow slime mould when the two combine.
That's equivalent to a person temporarily fusing with someone, acquiring their knowledge, then splitting off to become their separate self again.
The slime mould is a unicellular organism whose natural habitat is forest litter, but can also be cultured in a laboratory petri dish.
In previous work, researchers at the University of Toulouse have already trained slime moulds to move past repellent but harmless substances like coffee, quinine or salt to reach their food.
Now they've revealed that a slime mould that has learned to ignore salt can transmit this acquired behaviour to another simply by fusing with it.
What salamanders do for love
For some salamanders, a bit of romance is worth hitting the road for: and their journeys can take the tiny amphibians as far as 14km from their homes.
US researchers have marvelled at how those salamanders that look beyond their resident wetlands for a mate are willing to drag themselves upon their four squatty legs across miles of rugged terrain.
The scientists who unlocked this evolutionarily important information got there by cross-referencing genetic details from salamanders in various Ohio wetlands with the distance the animals would walk on a treadmill before tiring out.
The Ohio State University team behind the new insights sought to better understand how and where salamanders procreated - and how that fitted into work to preserve the animals, including land conservation efforts.
But it remained a mystery what prompted a salamander to cross rocks, fields, streams and roads to mate and, in the process, mix up the genetics of another salamander outpost far from home.
Is this the ultimate super-glue?
Molecules 10,000 times narrower than the width of a human hair could hold the key to making possible wooden skyscrapers and more energy-efficient paper production, scientists say.
The study solves a long-standing mystery of how key sugars in cells bind to form strong, indigestible materials.
The two most common large molecules - or polymers - found on Earth are cellulose and xylan, both of which are found in the cell walls of materials such as wood and straw.
They play a key role in determining the strength of materials and how easily they can be digested.
For some time, scientists have known that these two polymers must somehow stick together to allow the formation of strong plant walls, but how this occurs has, until now, remained a mystery.
"We knew the answer must be elegant and simple," explained lead author Professor Paul Dupree, of the University of Cambridge.
"And in fact, it was. What we found was that cellulose induces xylan to untwist itself and straighten out, allowing it to attach itself to the cellulose molecule.
"It then acts as a kind of 'glue' that can protect cellulose or bind the molecules together, making very strong structures."
When 2016 becomes a second longer
On December 31, 2016, a "leap second" will be added to the world's clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
This corresponds to 6:59:59 pm Eastern Standard Time, when the extra second will be inserted at the US Naval Observatory's Master Clock Facility in Washington, DC.
Historically, time was based on the mean rotation of the Earth relative to celestial bodies and the second was defined in this reference frame.
But the invention of atomic clocks defined a much more precise "atomic" timescale and a second that is independent of Earth's rotation.
In 1970, international agreements established a procedure to maintain a relationship between Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and UT1, a measure of the Earth's rotation angle in space.
Today, the responsibility for making these tiny adjustments lies with the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, which monitors the difference in the two time scales and calls for leap seconds to be inserted in - or removed from - UTC when necessary to keep them within 0.9 seconds of each other.
Why we're products of our environment
Ever tried to solve a complicated maths problem by using your hands, or shaped a piece of clay without planning it out in your head first?
Understanding how we think and make decisions by interacting with the world around us could help businesses find new ways of improving productivity - and even improve people's chances of getting a job, according to experts from Kingston University London.
The new research is challenging the traditional idea that thinking takes place strictly in the head.
Instead, they're seeking to demonstrate how our decision making is heavily influenced by the world around us - and that using tools or objects when problem solving can spark new ways of finding solutions.
The idea that thinking is done only in the head is a convenient illusion that doesn't reflect how problems are solved in reality, explained the study's lead author, Professor Gaelle Vallee-Tourangeau.
"When you write or draw, the action itself makes you think differently," she said.
"In cognitive psychology you are trained to see the mind as a computer, but we've found that people don't think that way in the real world.
"If you give them something to interact with they think in a different way."
Re-examining old ideas of how we think could have numerous practical applications, she said, from teaching to job recruiting.