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What Humans and Slugs Have in Common?

For thousands of years, humans and slugs have had a complicated relationship. Recently beginning to question an old assumption, scientists are now realizing that perhaps it’s the slime itself that has been antagonizing our species. The study of invertebrates has revealed some surprising findings when it comes to how these creatures move their tiny limbs, wiggle their worm-like bodies, and digest things we would probably consider disgusting. Interestingly enough, humans aren’t all too dissimilar in these bodily capabilities.

In an effort to better understand how the slime creates these effects, scientists at the University of Southern Denmark used a series of experiments to find their way towards new information. When looking into how slugs and humans move, the research team discovered that despite them having different types of muscle tissue, they both use a similar method of gliding. In other words, gliding is a type of locomotion that uses muscles attached to cartilage instead of powering through movement by fire or water.

This is interesting considering that the researchers had assumed that slugs would’ve evolved to have a more unique way of moving. As they studied, they noticed that the two species used much of the same muscles, suggesting that perhaps humans and slugs aren’t as different as we once thought.

However, this brings up some new questions. Why, despite having similar muscles and movement, do we seem to have a much different anatomy? The answer, as revealed by further study, has to do with all of that slime!

Slugs and humans have a lot in common with their methods of moving. Yet while they use the same muscles for gliding, humans use far more complex systems within our bodies that allow us to move at a faster rate. Interestingly enough, our bodies don’t seem to be concerned with the speed at which we move.

This doesn’t mean that we’re not concerned with the speed at which we move. You can see here how humans are able to translate their bodies into multiple positions when jumping or diving. While slugs and humans do use the same muscles, they aren’t always concerned with moving fast.

The problem here lies in the fact that once you’ve gotten used to moving a certain way, it’s hard to change it up.


It’s here that researchers conclude that slugs and humans both have the same concern for their safety. With that in mind, scientists are now tracking the slime to see if their concerns are justified.

In a recent study in Scientific Reports, researchers found that slugs need an abundance of slime-secreting mucus to create all of this movement. There is some debate on the chemical makeup of this slime, however. While some experts have concluded that the slime consists of mucus, others are certain that the slime is composed of a more complex chemical makeup.


It’s interesting to see how humans and slugs have different types of body tissue and muscle groups. However, even though we might look like we’re made differently, it seems that our muscle tissue is still similar enough that we can move in a similar manner to slugs.

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