Slime molds are smart?

During class on Wednesday, I promised that I would post this story that I read on slime molds following the interstate system.  By the way, this is related to astronomy because “astrobiology” is part of astronomy :)

Photographic evidence!

Click to go to Gizmodo story

Slime molds on a US map - they start at the capital city and there is food (oats) at major urban centers - look at how they grow!

The scholarly journal article is from the preprint server called arXivAre motorways rational from a slime mold’s point of view?  They study 14 different countries and find that, in general, yes, they are rational :)  The Gizmodo article (“Slime Mold and Highways Take the Exact Same Paths“) is also a great synopsis.

What I find just awesome about this is that it seems the interstate system grows pretty naturally.  This makes sense because usually, big highways are the result of people (or animals) going from one place to another and finding the best route…  Why break new ground?  I’ve always felt that certain roads, especially in Atlanta, GA, are really just paved-over cowpaths… Only cows can meander so much in order to be lazy :)


About drgrundstrom

They call me the Dancing Astrophysicist. I love to teach people about the Universe and all the things within it and I love to dance (partner and solo)!

Posted on April 20, 2012, in Science and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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