[ExI] John B. Calhoun’s Mouse Utopia Experiment and Reflections on the Welfare State

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Tue Oct 13 15:53:08 UTC 2020

On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 11:32 AM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> The data is rather clear: if they do not have to fend and forage for every
> basic need, organisms can live much longer and healthier on average.

That's not the point of the article or the experiment it describes.

Here's the interesting part:

*At first, the mice did well. Their numbers doubled every 55 days. But
after 600 days, with enough space to accommodate as many as another 1,600
rodents, the population peaked at 2,200 and began to decline
precipitously—straight down to the extinction of the entire colony—in spite
of their material needs being met with no effort required on the part of
any mouse.*

*The turning point in this mouse utopia, Calhoun observed, occurred on Day
315 when the first signs appeared of a breakdown in social norms and
structure. Aberrations included the following: females abandoning their
young; males no longer defending their territory; and both sexes becoming
more violent and aggressive. Deviant behavior, sexual and social, mounted
with each passing day. The last thousand mice to be born tended to avoid
stressful activity and focused their attention increasingly on themselves.*
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