An unknown creature with the “sickly sweet smell of rotting corpses” was discovered in the woods of Queensland, Australia.
The alien-looking thing was discovered by a hiker on Mount Nebo. He shared photos of the discovery to Reddit, writing, “WTF is this? Smells like rotting flesh. Mt Nebo.”
The hiker, who goes by the username aus556762, went on to describe the smell that was emitting from the red alien-looking growth. They said it was “hard to describe the sickly sweet smell of rotting corpses to those who don’t have first hand experience already.”
The person explained that they could smell the bizarre scent from about 1m away and flies were swarming it.
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While many people on the Reddit thread had no idea what the bizarre-looking creature was, a few happened to recognize the growth! It wasn’t an alien or undiscovered creature, but a type of fungus called a stinkhorn mushroom.
According to First Nature, stinkhorn mushrooms start as an underground “egg,” before emerging and growing into the strange-looking fungus that they are.
The smell is instantly recognizable for those who know what they smell like, and it’s not something you’ll easily forget. It turns out, the putrid odor actually serves the important purpose of helping the spores disperse so more mushrooms can grow.
The University of Colorado Boulder the smell attracts flies, which eat parts of the mushroom and then poop our a tarry stool rich in spores.
Most people try to avoid stinkhorns because of their smell, but some people actually eat them. The fungus can be eaten, but only when in the “egg” phase. Of course, if you want to eat a stinkhorn, you’ll have your choice of pick since there’s not much of a demand for such a delicacy.
You can watch someone eating one in the video below: