The Mystery of Mushrooms with Neil deGrasse Tyson & Bryn Dentinger

From StarTalk.

Why are some mushrooms delicious, some make you high, and some kill you? Neil deGrasse Tyson and comedian Chuck Nice discover the weird world of mushrooms, psilocybin, and mycelia with mycologist Bryn Dentinger.

What is a mycologist? Discover the kingdom of fungi, the crazy chemicals they produce, and how mushrooms have a closer common ancestor to us than plants. How did the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs help the mushrooms? When did humans start using mushrooms for their psychedelic effects?

Why are mushrooms so hard to grow? Learn about the differences between fungus and plant life. Learn about how mycelia are some of the largest single organisms by area. How did some mushrooms come to be hallucinogenic? Should we be farming more mushrooms?

What makes prized mushrooms like truffles so rare? Why can’t we farm them? Could fungi be the key to feeding a future Martian settlement? Learn about what fungi are made of biochemically and how many new species of fungi are found everyday. How do fungi interact with the human microbiome? What is Auto-brewery Syndrome? Plus, could a fungus-based plague cause a zombie apocalypse like the disease featured in The Last of Us?

Thanks to our Patrons Jack Hill, The Fantasy GOAT, Andrew Gendreau, ND, Vijai Karthigesu, Shellz, and Jeff Lane for supporting us this week.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:
"Black Swan” & "White Swan" limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

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About StarTalk:
Science meets pop culture on StarTalk! Astrophysicist & Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, his comic co-hosts, guest celebrities & scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Keep Looking Up!

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00:00 – Introduction: Psilocybin Mushrooms
0:41 – What is Mycology?
3:46 – What is Psilocybin?
5:03 – How The Asteroids Helped the Mushrooms
8:08 – When Did Humans Start Eating Shrooms?
12:26 – Why Are Mushrooms So Hard to Grow?
15:18 – Mycelium & Large Organisms
20:45 – Psilocybin vs. Ayahuasca
26:00 – Should We Farm Mushrooms More?
28:45 – Does Life Have Similarities to The Framework of the Universe?
31:26 – Why Are Truffles So Rare?
33:47 – Mushrooms on a Mars Settlement
37:30 – Fungi & The Human Microbiome
42:22 – Progress in Research
43:48 – Biochemical Wizards
45:07 – New Species of Shrooms
51:17 – The Last of Us Fungus Plague