The purpose of this text is to make us get a glimpse of the wisdom that lies in nature beyond our thinking mind. So we will start by looking at the smaller, microorganisms.
From the work done by Eshel Ben Jacob from the University of Tel Aviv with bacteria Paenibacillus vortex and its intelligent social behaviors, to the work on bacterial altruism done by Jan -Ulrich Kreft, we find several cases in nature where we can talk about intelligence in different species of microorganisms. Today we are going to talk about a specimen within the protist kingdom. It is a slime mold called Physarum polycephalum. Recently, researchers have given it great importance since it has been found to be able to solve certain algorithms better than the most skilled engineers.
In 2001 Toshiyuki Nakagaki published the results of his work in the article ” Smart behavior of true slime mold in a labyrinth“. As shown in the photo, Nakagaki uniformly distributed the mold Physarum polycephalum in a maze with agar base (substrate used for reproducing fungi or the like). He put oatmeal in the ends of the maze and saw that the mold retreated from all points of the maze except from the shortest path linking its food, oatmeal (AG). After these results and relying on the capabilities of this mold, Atsushi Tero et al. from the University of Kyushu proposed a more ambitious experiment that was published in the article “Rules for biologically inspired adaptive network design” Science, January 2010. They created a map of Tokyo, they put a food source on the map in the locations where metro stations are (36 points) and placed the protozoo where the Central Station is. The Physarum moved and covered the entire map and slowly retired from all points except from certain connections between metro stations. Between the thousands of possible interconnections, the Physarum just kept some of them. It has been observed that the result achieved by the Physarum in 26 hours is very similar to the current network. Researchers have developed an algorithm to optimize networks based on the behavior of Physarum. It has already been tested in different countries, including Spain. In several of these tests the design by the Physarum has been even more efficient than that achieved by engineers.
Once more we have to surrender to the wisdom in nature. Agriculture often forgets the laws that govern life and force the rhythm of nature instead of flowing with it. “He who contemplates, discovers”. It is always a wise choice to stop time to observe and let us be filled with that particular language of nature that although we are unaware of it, it is everywhere .