People have been sent into disbelief after a photo on Twitter has gone viral, showing what looks like “zombie toes” creeping out of the forestry.
When Indian forest service officer Susanta Nanda shared a photo online, he decided to mislead his followers by challenging them to identify the animal in a photo. In the photo, it appears to be a tree trunk with what looks like a deathly grey foot popping out in the middle, with claw-like toenails.
Can you identify this animal? pic.twitter.com/6WHc2cidRO
— Susanta Nanda IFS (@susantananda3) June 14, 2020
People were left horrified by the photo, as they had never seen anything like it before. Despite looking online, many responded to the tweet by saying they had absolutely no idea what creature it was meant to be.
Whilst some jokingly commented that it could be Bigfoot’s foot, others said that they wanted to erase the image from their memory as they found it so disturbing to look at. Some people said it looked like what they imagined an orc’s foot to look like. Meanwhile, others were saying they thought it looked like a set of”zombie toes”.
However, it was eventually revealed that the image was not of an animal’s foot at all, but rather a type of fungus which is commonly known as “Dead Man’s Finger”.
Although aptly named Dead Man’s Finger, the fungus’s official name is Xylaria polymorph. Like the nickname suggests, the fungus resembles the fingers of a dead person. In this particular case, it especially looks like a set of toes.
The creepy looking fungus is found most commonly in forests and woodland areas, from the bases of rotting or injured tree stumps and decaying wood it forms. The colour can vary from white to blue and black throughout the course of its life cycle.
Xylaria polymorpha не то, что ты хочешь увидеть на прогулке в лесу))
Although it may look dangerous and threatening to humans, it is harmless. In some parts of China, it is cooked and eaten when it reaches the blue colour stage. Technically, it’s not meant to edible and can be hard to digest, especially when hardened.
Although it can be found in certain regions of the US such as the Rocky Mountains, it is mostly found in regions of Nepal, Bhutan and northeastern India.
Interestingly, Dead Man’s Finger is involved in the use of violin making and according to blogger James Murray, it can increase the acoustic properties of wood. Due to the degree of decay, the wood’s density is decreased. The fungus is killed with ethylene oxide which prevents the wood from rotting further.