Sahailu, tell me: Avatar’s neural connection business isn’t so far-fetched

“I’m trying to understand this deep connection that people have with the forest. She talks about the web of energy that flows through all living things. It Jack SullyA human soldier inhabits the body NaviAn indigenous race of the moon Pandora In James Cameron Avatar. Sully recognizes and appreciates the bond the navies have with their environment and the other native flora and fauna of Pandora. When a Navi rides a deadly horseFor example, braids from their hair intertwine with the creature’s ‘bridle’, “tsaheylu“, a kind of psychic link that allows two beings to mentally unite and work together.

Cameron explains to us how he created the tsaheylu bond: “I was thinking, all of nature… is a giant nervous system, like our internet, and you can actually plug in, this is your USB port. , you have this thing that connects directly to your brain.

“And then I thought, you put braids on top of your hair to protect it, because it’s soft nervous tissue, OK, and then you can communicate with animals. You can connect to these trees, which are input-output centers, to this vast neural network. That seemed like a good idea, and I ran with it. .


effect, of the avatar The tsaheylu bond extends the biology already found on Earth. “What Cameron is describing here is basically what we call mutualism,” explains Dan Eatherly, a nature writer and author of the critically acclaimed book. Intruding Aliens. “Mutualism is when two different organisms form symbiotic relationships that benefit both.”

Psychic connection, or unification of mind, is what tsaheylu is Avatar Complex organisms in the real world are not very reflective at scale. “The only thing going on here is like the fungal parasite that can mind-control ants, which we discussed earlier, where the parasite exploits the poor insect for its own nefarious reasons. But it’s not exactly mutually beneficial, certainly not for the ant,” laughs Eatherly. “In our biology, it’s very simple or unicellular. happening at the level, or reciprocity is in the form of give-and-take symbiotic relationships.”

Let’s look at nature, then, events and real-life relationships that most closely resemble Avatar’s Sahailu bond.

Symbiotic relationships – pollination


“You can look at it as one of nature’s oldest symbiotic relationships,” offers Etherly. “The plant covers another organism with its pollen, the male sex cells, to propagate. But even this, in the beginning, insects eat the pollen itself, which is obviously an evolutionary bottleneck for plants. So, plants instead provide these beautiful sugary honeydews to distract the insects and then they accidentally pollinate. Take in. Of course, it’s not just insects, but some birds like bats and hummingbirds can also pollinate.

Symbiotic relationships – The Feeder/Cleaner Dynamic


Wildlife watchers are often fascinated by the relationship between a large predator and a small, seemingly vulnerable animal that poses no danger despite its usual proximity to these fearsome beasts.

“You see this Nile crocodile And this Egyptian plover bird,” says Eatherly. “The plover sits inside the crocodile’s open jaws and eats what little food is left in its mouth, effectively providing a kind of dental service!”

You can see this symbiotic relationship in the video embedded above.


There is also a connection in the sea as shown here.

“You see this with sharks Pilot fishOr in Australia, The Gray reef sharks And this Clean wrasse fish,” notes Eatherly. “These tiny fish again provide a valuable service, removing food scraps they eat themselves and parasites that harm sharks.”

Symbiotic relationships – Scary Clown(Pisces) House Guest


Anyone remembers the shocking opening scene Finding Nemo They will remember that Marlin And his badass wife Coral Sea anemones make their home in movable, poisonous tentacles. neemPlot development requires that many of their eggs not be placed in this living death trap, whereas this is typically a clownfish strategy.

“Clown fish hide from predators in their stinging tentacles because their bodies have a layer of mucus that negates the anemone’s venom,” explains Eatherly. “Also, the anemone derives many benefits from the clownfish, such as parasites being removed or nutrients provided through their feces. The clownfish’s bright orange and white-striped colors help attract other fish, which the anemone stings and sucks.

Symbiotic relationships – “Are you a farmer?”


Aphids are often a bane for gardeners everywhere, swarming plants and devouring them. One might think that ants that love to eat honeydew aphids would be their natural predators, but it doesn’t work that way.

“The ants feed on the nectar produced by the aphids and actually provide protection in return,” explains Eatherly. “Some ants will move aphid eggs and nymphs underground to their nest, making it more efficient to harvest the honeydew equivalent of a dairy farm. So, these are basic types of benefit exchanges.

Endosymbiosis: Two become one


Endosymbiosis is when one organism lives in the body or cells of another.

“A lichen is a union of two single-celled organisms: fungi and algae,” says Eatherly. “The fungus provides solid form and structure, and the algae can photosynthesize. Both benefit here: the fungi get oxygen and food, and the algae get anchorage and substrate to grow.”

OK Sun fight in coral


When snorkeling or diving, it may be worrisome to imagine coral reefs as living creatures, but it’s true; They were colonies that merged and spread over hundreds of years.

“Coral is actually made up of tiny organisms called polyps,” outlines Eatherly. “Each polyp begins to host millions of tiny algae, or zooxanthellae (‘zoods’ for short), which perform photosynthesis, providing the coral with most of its food. Zoos also give coral its specific color. And when coral reefs are stressed, they expel their algae, This leads to coral bleaching and eventual death.

Make room for mushrooms: fungi


“I recently saw a documentary about these giant mushrooms and the connection” Avatar Producer John Landau tells us. “How they’re all connected, how they react to each other, how they’re connected.”

It sounds fantastic, and there might be something to it. “Research has recently been reported that examines whether fungi communicate with electrical impulses,” confirms Eatherly, “effectively their own ‘language’ of 50 ‘words.’ Of course, cells can communicate with each other, but it’s through nerves or transmissions in the nervous system that fungi don’t have.

Fungi have thread-like filaments called hyphae that form a thin web called mycelium that connects fungal colonies within the soil and is similar to the nervous system. “Scientists measure and analyze the electronic signals that are sent, but we still don’t know for sure that the fungi actually talk to each other,” points out Eatherly.

So-called mycorrhizal fungi form extensive networks in the soil that connect different plants and help them access nutrients and moisture provided by these fungi. This helps plants survive by providing a much wider range of nutrients, while at the same time, plants can transfer sugars and fatty acids to fungi – another important example of mutualism at work.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Landau marvels. “I think it helps remind us that even though we’re not all physically connected, we really are connected.”

Cameroon’s Future Links


Avatar: Waterway It also introduces new species to explore and inevitably new underwater worlds. Perhaps the most impressive of all Dulgun, highly intelligent, whale-like animals capable of communicating with navies and forming close bonds. And unsurprisingly, given his planned further sequels, James Cameron has ideas yet to explore on screen.

“We don’t say it in the movie, but when you attach one of these underwater creatures that can hold their breath for 20, 30 minutes, some oxygen will cross that bond, and it’s not just nerve signals,” he explains. . “Actually, a mother can treat it like an external umbilical cord. So the baby is actually born at the end of the second trimester, and then lives in the last trimester connected to the mother through the tsaheylu bond. There are all kinds of little variations in that biology that are worked out well in the canon, but two more in the movie. Not shown, but will show over time.

“I firmly believe that there are many surprising interrelationships in the natural world waiting to be discovered by scientists,” says Eatherly. “So, it’s definitely going to be a future mine for filmmakers.”

Avatar: Waterway Hits the screens on December 16, 2022.

Check out our interviews Avatar: Waterway Director James Cameron, producer John Landau and the cast below.

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