Smart animals: bees trained to pull strings for treat (Animals)

by dhw, Saturday, October 08, 2016, 12:45 (503 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In e. coli experiment advances paused. If all colonies died there would have been no experiment.
Dhw: I presume the researchers replaced the first colonies with new ones.DAVID: No, the colonies paused and then advanced.

I have found the quote: “It took some doing (the first few colonies succumbed to contamination and water condensation) but eventually they had the movie you see here.” Did I misunderstand something?

DAVID: …what the E. coli story shows is minor adaptation in an existing species. All we know so far is epigenetic adaptation against the problem of speciation.

Yes, I know. We do not understand how innovation leading to speciation takes place. Epigenetic adaptation suggests that there is a mechanism by which organisms can change themselves, and my hypothesis is that this same mechanism may also be capable of innovation. It is a hypothesis, just like your 3.7-billion-year-old divine computer programme.

dhw: I love your image of mindless bacteria not having a clue what they're doing but somehow knowing that they need to change gear (though apparently it takes some time and effort). Especially when they're driving along a route they've never taken before.
DAVID: Cute analogy. Bacteria have the capacity to try the alternate pathways as they strive to live, a characteristic of life.

I wonder how many alternative pathways there are, bearing in mind the millions of problems bacteria have had to solve over the last 3.7 billion years. As for their “capacity”, one possible description of it is “intelligence”.

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