When a slime mold mass or mound is physically separated, the cells find their way back to re-unite. Studies on Physarum have even shown an ability to learn and predict periodic unfavorable conditions in laboratory experiments (Saigusa et al. 2008). Professor John Tyler Bonner, who has spent a lifetime studying slime molds argues that they are "no more than a bag of amoebae encased in a thin slime sheath, yet they manage to have various behaviours that are equal to those of animals who possess muscles and nerves with ganglia – that is, simple brains."
Atsushi Tero of Hokkaido University grew the slime mold Physarum polycephalum in a flat wet dish. Around its initial position representing Tokyo, he placed oat flakes corresponding to the locations of other major cities in the Greater Tokyo Area. As Physarum avoids bright light, light was used to simulate mountains, water and other obstacles. The mold first densely filled the space with plasmodia, then thinned the network to focus on efficiently connected branches. The network strikingly resembled Tokyo's rail system.
Read more about this topic: Slime Mould
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