Altruistic Slime Molds

Carol Otte at Damn Interesting has just posted an article about Dictyostelium discoideum, a social amoeba. It’s an astonishing look at so many facets of life from cooperation and self preservation to evolution. The gist is that when necessity demands it, individual amoebas join together to form a collective organism. Inside the new organism individual amoebas take on specialized roles, many giving up their lives in the process.

This is the quote that is most interesting to me: “Amoebas behave altruistically only because natural selection has led to a stable state in which self-sacrifice is the best way for them to pass on their genes. But the end result is the same, regardless of the natural forces that have shaped it. ”

via Damn Interesting 


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