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In the future, humanity has discovered countless worlds, some filled with life and others not.

Likewise, they discover another world that is habitable, they study its various ecosystems, it’s various creatures, and many more. However, one day they discover a vast plain covered in pillars, upon further examination, they discover that its made of flesh like material. The pillars seem pretty weak and vulnerable but upon touch, they are actually very durable and can’t be easily wounded. The area around them seems to sport very little plant life, and those that do seem to have traces of elements that are used to make bones, yet don’t sport any.

Further research has concluded that every year, a spore like sac will burst from the top of each pillar, these spores, if landing on the ground will sprout these pillars over a 10 year time span, but if the spores land on a creature, then the animal will seemingly roam around the area of said pillars, protecting from any other unaffected creatures.

After five years of these creatures protecting said pillars, the animals will seemingly huddle up upon a random pillar, and have their flesh be assimilated through a slow process, leaving behind any hair, bones, and any other inorganic material. For some reason, the neurons of the brain and nervous system seemingly get transferred into the very center of each pillar. It is said that each pillar is connected through a root like system that resembles veins, and infant pillars will grow these vein like roots towards the closest adult pillars, as a means of a gaining more nutrients to survive.

The center of the pillars being made up of assimilated neuron seems to be able to connect to other pillar neurons through a even more vast and complex system. It is even theorized that if every pillar on the planet is connected through these vast and complex network system, then these pillars as a whole are essentially capable of being as intelligent as 10 human beings, but this is only a theory and there seems to only be 1 piece of evidence to this theory. In a dense forest, there resides one very large and wide pillar that is surrounded by smaller pillars. The large pillar can be seen very slowly forming eyes around itself and creating creatures made of the same composition. The eyes will shortly after close shut and assumably be reassimilated, as with the creatures, they will die after a few seconds of being created and will be reassimilated after a few weeks. Extra fact, the pillars will gain most of their energy from the environment around them, and is thought to be some form of a highly evolve fungus like creature that forms these pillars that have the resemblance of flesh.

Is such a creature even feasible, and if not, what parts of the creature are feasible?

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    $\begingroup$ Is this intended to be a creature/species that evolved, or something created by a sentient race? If it's evolve, the big question would be why use flesh, which is an enormously inefficient material choice. If it's genetic engineering, then its easier to focus on the physics of such a structure. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 26 at 1:37
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    $\begingroup$ What a deeply unsettling question. I'm not sure if anyone should help make these things feasible. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 26 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ I can think of carnivorous trees that bleeds large amount of highly acidic sap, wait is yours a parasite, hybrid or chimera? $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jan 26 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ The spores act like a cordyceps fungus, infecting and essential taking control of the animal, but instead it only makes the animal want to roam around and protect the pillars for x amount of time until the fungus is developed enough for it to take full control of it. The way the pillars assimilate the animals is by a complex form of using enzymes and chemicals, it neurons are preserved but uses the meat of the animals for growth. It essentially is a very complex form of a parasitic fungus $\endgroup$ – RotNDecay Jan 26 at 2:34
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    $\begingroup$ I have no idea whether this is feasible, but it's a freaky cool concept. I actually did something vaguely similar in an RPG I ran some years ago, but your version is much more fully-developed and a good deal creepier, to boot. $\endgroup$ – Dave Sherohman Jan 26 at 11:52
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The first part of this description, while weird, certainly seems possible. The behavior of these pillars are basically a mix of Cordyceps and Acacia trees. The former is well-known for controlling ants, forcing them to crawl upwards to help the fungus distribute its spores. The second secretes a nectar that incites ants to protect it from predators. Originally, people thought that this was a mutually beneficial relationship in which the ants protect the trees in exchange for the sap, but later studies indicate that Acacia sap is not only highly addictive to ants but it will basically make them unable to digest other possible food sources, forcing them to serve the tree for life once they get their first taste.

Ants are frequently found in these relationships because they have highly complex behaviors that are strongly affected by chemicals, so this makes it relatively easy for plants and fungi to "hack" them, but even more complex animals can be modified through chemistry and pheromones, like mice which can be mind-controlled into seeking out cats by the pathogen Toxoplasma gondii. If the flesh pillar is able to, finding a way to manipulate the prey into dying while touching the pillar, perhaps by causing them pain when not touching the pillar and relief when they did, would certainly be beneficial for the organism.

The really unlikely bit is the "assimilate the nervous system of its prey". Nervous systems are extremely complex and don't fare well outside of their host organism. Moreover, even supposing the organism could assimilate a nervous system, what would be the point? Brains are energy-hungry organs that are useful for reacting quickly to stimuli - but non-mobile organisms are built for a low-energy lifestyle and can't react quickly anyway, so a nervous system would be basically pointless. As for the ability to generate new organisms that die in a few seconds, this seems to be a complete waste of energy.

If such an organism did exist, my guess would be that the flesh pillars and the "host" creatures are in fact the same species - the pillars being a communal, "adult" form of the creatures. The organisms they spawn are their children, who have a high infant mortality rate, but sometimes survive, travel long distances to gather more nutrients, and then return to return these nutrients and knowledge to the parent pillar. The subsequent generation will maintain some of the knowledge accumulated by the parent, being "taught" brain-to-brain as they are being spawned, and use this knowledge to assimilate more nutrients before returning. Other species may be manipulated by the pillars, but their nervous systems will not be "assimilated".

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There would need to be a very good evolutionary advantage gained from maintaining and expanding its nervous system. The reason we evolved a nervous system is not to "think", but to move. So that we can perceive the surroundings, process and react to stimuli appropriately.

The nervous system is a huge energy hog, which is a big problem in a global competition for scarce resources, so it would need to justify itself by providing a massive advantage over organisms who don't have one and are therefore more energy efficient. Or it would just be phased out by evolutionary pressure.

There is a kind of organism called a barnacle, which can move in its larval and juvenile stages until it finds a spot to settle down and secure itself. At which point one of the first things it does is digest most of its nervous system. It simply has no more use for it since its unable to move.

So, if you want to make your idea to be possible, you need to address these concerns of energy, efficiency and purpose.

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