[extropy-chat] Introducing: the super-rational slime-mold.
avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 31 08:42:44 UTC 2006
Cellular slime-molds are Protists related to the
Amoeba. Oddly enough, they seem to have mastered
iterated prisoner's dilemma. They, like other ameoba,
roam around as microscopic individuals catching what
small game they can in the moisture trapped within the
soil. But what happens when scarcity of prey ensues
because of drought or over hunting? Do the little
buggers fall prey to the temptation to defect and
cannibalize one another? (mutual defection)
No instead at a starvation induced chemical message,
they band together into a giant pseudoplasmodium that
crawls around on the forest floor as a multicellular
organism the size of slug, engulfing equivalently
larger prey (mutual cooperation).
Then when they have fed, they form fruiting bodies
that release their spores to the wind to start the
process again in some other water droplet.
When two individual amoeboids strike one another's
fancy in some chemical way, they have the option of
undergoing meiosis and then having sex with one
another by fusing their haploid meiosis progeny
Still not convinced? Would you believe they can solve
mazes? How about controlling robots?
What would the humble slime mold advise humanity to do
with regard to the energy crisis?
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu
"Aagghh! Who knew that bio-engineered food would lead to smart puke."
-Willy the school janitor from the Simpsons.
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