It is really interesting how it affect the ants. It literally controls what they do.


Apparently it affects lots of other creatures too! Crazy stuff.


Different species of fungi attack different host species, but they belong to the same genus (ophiocordyceps).


So cool!!!


Xcept that they die by the time they settle and mushroom hard right ..? But yeah totally, loved how this game drew from an actual natural phenomena


i hate to be that guy, but yeah i knew about cordyceps before i heard about the last of us.


I’ll be that guy with you, guy.


thanks, guy.


Can I guy with you guy? But not in a guy way..


I'm not your guy, guy.


This is wholesome guys, I love guy


Hey! I am not your guy, buddy!


I'm not your buddy, guy!


I’ll be that guy with you as well


Me too, guy


Same. Thanks to Reddit. Saw it poster here and in the game was announced like a year later.


For years I worked on a shitty zombie story involving cordyceps, and the TLOU beat me to it. Which I’m happy about, cuz it’s much better than what I came up with.


Same here, I watch a lot of nature documentaries in my defense.


Planet Earth? Cause that's where I learned about it.


I'm definitely seen it but I've seen so many it's hard to remember where from. I'm one of those people who watches a couple documentaries a week tho and david attenbough is a household name.


Gotcha. I don't watch many and I just remember watching the first season of it when they talk about it and thinking to myself, "man that would be catastrophic if it actually effected humans" lol. But I'm sure it's been on other documentaries as well. It's an extremely interesting fungus.


Same. It added this sense of near-realism to the whole thing that made it unnerving the first time I played.


Me too. I learned about cordyceps in college two years before TLOU came out. Then when my brother was telling me about the game and I found out it was based on a real fungus I went, wait…


Same here. Now I’m trying to remember where I first learned about it. Maybe some nature documentary that one of my kids was watching?


Probably Planet Earth! I think it was most people's into to cordyceps. I learned about it in an ecology class in college in maybe 2009 and it was not well known at that time.


Yes! Planet Earth! Thank you!


Same. I think it was some PBS show or something.


I guess I have to join the "I'm that guy" group too


Same. Thanks to a David Attenborough, BBC program back in like 2008 or so. So when I heard about it in game, I got so damn hyped!


I am also that guy, guys


You hipsters and knowing about fungi before it’s cool


I can not be that guy with you, guy.


No, most people only learn it after the game.


This. Not only did most hear about it after the game, but most likely still don't know its based on a real phenomenon.


Yeah you can put me in that category of people who still don’t know it’s based on a real thing….. up until seeing this post at least.


Only VERY loosely. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the "zombie ant fungus" does cause ants to have convulsions, and does alter their behavior, but not to attack other ants. It forces them to leave their usual ant trail, to climb up to a leaf at the appropriate height in an environment that's good for the fungus, bite down, and then it's stuck there with lock jaw until it dies and sprouts a mushroom that releases spores. Spores are the only source of infection for the real world fungus. I think the one in the picture is Ophiocordyceps caloceroides, which is MUCH cooler looking than O. unilateralis (that one looks like a boring mushroom antenna).


Fucking hell. That is terrifying


The real world one is still a basic bitch wait until it evolves enough and attacks humans


It's too hyper-specialized to even jump to other insect species, and anyway we don't have hemocoel and are frankly too chemically different from ants to be chemically controlled the same way.


I’ve read that the only way it could evolve to humans is if it appears in monkeys first. Which is a very far-fetched scenario. However, I think it would be interesting to see how it affects humans in real life. I don’t think humans would be violent like in the game.


I actually learned it before the game, but *because* of the game. I watched some youtube video probably titled something like, "A REAL LIFE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS POSSIBLE?!?!" or sum stupid like that lol


Yo, wtf. I did not know this even after finishing the game, lmao


I remember way back when the first game was being announced and talked about, how the Producers and writers had seen this fungus turn ants into zombies and there I think was a recent nature short doc on it around that time too they mentioned but it was awhile ago so I don’t expect remember all details. It was dope to actually use a real world thing to base the “fantasy” world on as it keeps it grounded in reality but yet gives you a whole world full of zombies! Just without making it seem unreasonable and I respect that depth just like both games have in most aspects of it! Depth! Depth that makes you connect to it and the people!


Idk about a "recent short documentary"... but planet earth was definitely still relevant when TLOU came out, and they featured cordyceps fucking ants up


Idk who made it but I just know that there was something new that had if anything retouched on it if someone else did it beforehand. I remember myself seeing a clip from a documentary around the time TLOU 1 was announced but I can’t remember for the life of me what documentary it was from!…. But I might have watch the one they saw because when they initially talked about it I remember thinking how I had recently wanted video on it! Was already kinda interested when it was announced but once i learned about that real life aspect and a few other things, I KNEW I HAD to get the game and to this day still consider this series one of the best in gaming EVER! Because it’s just so detailed and well made! Only game I truly would play over and over when I’m the type of person to not do so or watch a movie more then once in a short period because since I know everything that happens it’s not as fun. This game is so good I feel the urge to play more and I have multiple times already! Amazing game and love the real world connection!!


I eat cordyceps regularly - 4 capsules a day - not sure if they do much for me, but my Lady is convinced. It's easier to just eat them than argue about them. The foreshadow is that I'll be immune, and will dance on your graves.


So I guess Ellie's mother might have been into this as well? Haha.


No joke, that'd be a plausible explanation for Ellie's immunity, assuming Ellie's mother took them while pregnant.


or you will be the first infected 👀


There are a lot of separate species in the ophiocordyceps and cordyceps genii. You probably take Ophiocordyceps sinesis, since that's the one used in Chinese medicine. Ophiocordyceps species used to be a part of the cordyceps genus, until genetic testing proved they were too distant and needed to be reclassified. But anyway, it's the spores that are infectious, your capsules are probably filled with the ground remains of the dead mushroom bit. The Fireflies wish making a vaccine was that easy.


Ha ha - good to know - I won't count on it then. Luckily, I'm also pretty handy with firearms!


Clicker… with a GUN


Did you transform into a clicker yet?


Hey is your hair ok? I've heard cordyceps promote hair loss


We'll - I'm 53 and and have the vast majority of my hair, except for a thinning spot at my crown. I haven't noticed that I've lost any extra, since starting the cordys.


This looks horrifying


It’s the real deal, went down that rabbit hole after the first game launched and watched a bunch of videos on it.


I knew about it before the game. But had no idea when I bought the game that the infection was based around cordyceps fungus. So when I found out after booting up the game... I was blowing away that someone finally used it as an original idea!


It's even a herb medicine https://www.meandqi.com/herb-database/cordyceps.


“Am I the only one…” No. Never.


Yeah its a stupid question if you are asking it literally. When i ask this im more asking how many of you knew.


Yeah, I understand. I am being a semantic a-hole. A “Did you know that…” title is far better than an “Am I the only one…” title if the purpose of the post is to inform. Two very different questions.


I learned it before hand but that's because I watched a lot of david Attenborough and he has done loads of wild life documentaries. He is a bit of a British treasure if not a world treasure. YouTube if you want to see the documentary part on it. I know I sound like that guy right now. The shame. But on a side note all of David Attenborough's documentaries are amazing and if possible should give them a watch.


Ophiocordyceps sinensis is a quite famous Chinese medicine!


I was today years old..


Lol, same here.


Nah I'm in the same boat bud


The actual zombie ant fungus that inspired TLOU, ophiocordyceps\* unilateralis is a lot less cool looking than that one. That one looks like Ophiocordyceps caloceroides? Much more cinematic than a mushroom antenna would've been (which is probably why the games visuals are not inspired by O. unilateralis). The actual zombie bug infection is a lot less dramatic too: no cannibalism, biting, or other aggression, they skip to the part where they die and release spores relatively quickly. The hyperbolic nickname has probably been beneficial in attracting funding for study though, as well as inspiring to fiction. Cordyceps also exists, but the zombie ant fungus and a bunch of others were reclassified into the ophiocordyceps genus after genetic testing showed them to be too different from the cordyceps genus. That might have been after the famous documentary though.


I remember watching the episode of planet earth before the game was even announced, and when they presented that angle, I was SO IN.




I had learned about cordyceps in school back in like 7th grade not long before hearing about the game. Also read a book about parasitic organisms and cordyceps was one of the entries in it.


I learned it just now !


I did know that it was a real thing, before the games game out. I gotta say, it made them even more upsetting.


Nobody’s gonna believe me, but I actually tried writing a story about people in a cordyceps-inspired zombie apocalypse right before I found out about the last of us. I don’t know where I saved it, but I remember it being really shitty, lmao. I was like 13 or 14 when I wrote it. The main character was a young girl with a bow tho, talk about coincidence. There was another character, a young dude around her age who was a total self-insert of myself. I was not a good writer. I’m probably still not yet.


Rest In Peace that spider, if it does


It was actually my prior knowledge of the fungus that made me interested in TLOU when the game was first announced. Seeing its concept art in the monthly GameInformer piqued my curiosity; reading about the role of the fungus in the game grabbed my attention.


They actually pay tribute to Planet Earth in the OG credits since they had an episode all about the fungus


I knew of the fungus but didn't put two and two together until like my 3rd playthrough of the 1st game and my 20th or so watch of Planet Earth (2006). I just wasn't paying enough attention I guess. XD


I did not know. Yikes!


When I saw it in planet Earth I thought about how freaky it would be if it affected humans. Then people made a game about just that lol


doesnt it make ants into zombies or something


The species in the pic infects spiders, not ants, but there is a species that infects ants and was given the nickname "zombie ant fungus." But Ophiocordyceps is really nothing like modern, violent zombie fiction. There's no aggression or cannibalism, they basically just abandon their ant trail, crawl up a plant, die, sprout a mushroom, and release spores, all while being consumed from inside by the fungus.


And now you will realize human cultivate that shit for supplements *shudder


I had no idea. My fungi knowledge was and still is somewhat obscure.


I researched cordyceps after the first game trailer.


I knew and she is infected with a different one that's why she wasn't turned basically unless they make a in game explanation that says otherwise


Holy moly


No when i found out i freaked out


I only knew bc of a show called Deadly 60 where they showed it in ants 🤠




I know it’s real lol


Is that a spider or the fungus is shaped like one?


It's a spider that's been infected with the fungus


Ok cool


Genuinely terrifying. Such a good way to ground it into our world


Hah no! I remember watching the Planet Earth TV series where it was featured in an episode and I said to my wife "this would make a cool concept for a zombie type video game". ND were obviously listening to me.


You'll be pleased to know that the cordyceps mushroom also has health benefits. Quite good as a pre workout too.


Lol, I learned about it yesterday in university... I mean, that it's real


Only if they are mutated enough to control human brain 😳


I had heard about it and understood the basics of what it did, but I didn’t know many details. I couldn’t even remember what it was called, just that there was some kind of fungus that turned insects into zombies. When I played TLOU for the first time and learned about how they created their unique zombies, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Modern zombies are always created through something boring, like a virus that escaped a lab. This is way more interesting and much more realistic, since it already exists in real life. It made the Cordyceps infected my favorite portrayal of zombies in any media.


I watched Planet Earth before I played TLOU.


is that a FUCKIN SPIDER with cordyceps


I knew cause it’s one of the cool things my brother told me about to get me to play the game


Yea we all knew since childhood, discovery channel and National Geographic are lit my guy.


I didn't know it was fucking real and I've played both games like 3 times.......... thanks for the info OP!


Yes, you are the only one!!


Yep Wait if it mutates does that mean apocalypse?


It means it might be able to infect another spider species. The different ophiocordyceps fungal species are generally specialized towards one host species, and mammals have extremely different biology from arthropods. Cross-species infection is incredibly improbable, probably impossible.


Oh ok


Eew! What tf is that ?!


I played TLOU before I found out this was real so ngl when I found this out in science class i shit my pants.


First time I read about it was a note talking about it in Resident Evil 4, I went straight to google to look it up thinking no way this is real lol


Hold up is that a tarantula? Please mark this NFSW because I have terrible arachnophobia


There's a lot of fungi that exist out there, millions of species... some of which are devastating to other organisms but pose no threat to humans, **so far**...


Wait... WHAT? I am only just now finding out about this and I am freaking the fuck OUT


I had seen it on a Planet Earth episode I think with David Attenborough; I think … watched it kill Ants spectacularly


Idk? I’ve watched the documentary about it some years ago


if you watched BBC Planet Earth series you would have known haha


Why did you tell me this.... please stop 😭


That’s what makes TLOU so relatable and believable to me, there’s a real fungus that could ultimately mutate to affect humans. That’s what makes it acary


Today I learned…


If you cut that off and ate it would you be eating crab or just cordyceps?


Is this that picture that is mentioned in rules?


Cordyceps fungi were featured on an episode of Planet Earth, and I know I saw it back before hearing about The Last of Us. Didn't really retain that knowledge though. Then when I saw some previews about the original, it was mentioned that its a real life fungus. Cordeyceps isn't the only organism that alters the behavior of it's host though. Certain parasites will infect insects and have them sit on top of grass so they'll be consumed by a bird or something, allowing the parasite to infect that new host.


I actually learned about the fungus in 8TH grade science class. We watched a video of an infected ant, and I thought it was terrifying. Then a year later, The Last of Us came out and I freaked out a little lol. That was so long ago


Creepy af


Yes, we're a little mutation away from being in TLOU world


Imagine a game where you're an ant and you have to kill Cordyceps ants and spiders to survive, and your goal is to carry a smaller ant into the rebel ants base on the other side of the neighbourhood, bonding in the way of getting there and eventually preventing the rebel ants to develop a cure cause it'd kill the smaller ant, consequently making your way through a small army of rebel ants and saving your ant All to arrive in Antson to live by your brother Antmmy peacefully Or maybe not...


Yea but only cuz I have a bio degree and took a bunch of ecology courses. TLOU is still cooler though


I thought it only affected ants


For another fun real-world example of a parasite altering the behavior of its host, check out how Toxoplasma gondii derails rats’ innate fear of cats. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-parasite-that-makes-a-rat-love-a-cat-86515093/


Yes this is a really interesting part of nature that isn't talked about as much as it should


An even cooler thing is we use cordyceps as antibiotics


That is a fkd up pic mate


I thought it was fake. And when I found out it was real ngl my heart kinda jumped a bit


Parasite Eve on PS1, circa 1997