How Brainless Slime Molds Redefine Intelligence

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How Brainless Slime Molds Redefine Intelligence

"Single-celled amoebae can remember, make decisions and anticipate change, urging scientists to rethink intelligent behavior"

Ferris Jabr


Quote:Gardeners sometimes encounter them in their backyards—spongy yellow masses squatting in the dirt or slowly swallowing wood chips. Hikers often spot them clinging to the sides of rotting logs like spilled bowls of extra cheesy macaroni. In Mexico some people reportedly scrape their tender bodies from trees and rocks and scramble them like eggs. They are slime molds: gelatinous amoebae that have little to do with the kinds of fungal mold that ruin sourdough and pumpernickel. Biologists currently classify slime molds as protists, a taxonomic group reserved for "everything we don't really understand," says Chris Reid of the University of Sydney.

Something scientists have come to understand is that slime molds are much smarter than they look. One species in particular, the SpongeBob SquarePants–yellow Physarum polycephalum, can solve mazes, mimic the layout of man-made transportation networks and choose the healthiest food from a diverse menu—and all this without a brain or nervous system. "Slime molds are redefining what you need to have to qualify as intelligent," Reid says.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2021-12-30, 10:56 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: How Brainless Slime Molds Redefine Intelligence

"Single-celled amoebae can remember, make decisions and anticipate change, urging scientists to rethink intelligent behavior"

Ferris Jabr

...got those centrioles
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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