Tanya Latty and Madeleine Beekman from the University of Sydney, have found human style of decision-making in a slime mould, Physarum polycephalum. It’s a single-celled, amoeba-like creature that doesn’t have a brain (sort of like politicians?).
Physarum spends most of its life as a large mat called a ‘plasmodium’, which is a single cell that contains many nuclei. The plasmodium searches for food by moving along like an amoeba and sending out a network of tendrils. Its search patterns are very sophisticated for a brainless organism. A Japanese group found that if they placed the mould among food sources arranged like Tokyo’s urban centres, it created a network that closely resembled Tokyo’s actual railway system. The slimy network was optimised to transport nutrients to the main plasmodium.
Scientists have long since discovered that you can run simple decision-making experiments with Physarum by presenting it with several food sources and seeing how it behaves. Typically, the plasmodium touches all the potential meals and then either ‘decides’ to move towards one, or splits itself among many.”
But can if fill in expense statements.
Brainless slime mould makes decisions like humans