A blob manages to recreate a very complex rail system
Researchers in Japan have shown that a slime mold can design a network that is as efficient as one developed by humans over many years: the Tokyo rail system. Furthermore, the slime mold can build its network in a day.
A slime mold is what scientists refer to as a single-celled amoeboid organism. When foraging for food, it spreads out as an amorphous mass and then builds tubular connections between the food sources.
Scientists in Japan set up an experiment where they laid out 36 bits of food in a pattern corresponding to cities in the Tokyo area and put a slime mold, Physarum polycephalum, at the spot corresponding to Tokyo.
As they reported in Science, after 26 hours the slime mold had created a series of tubular connections that matched, to a great extent, the rail links among these cities.