The Web of Life (41-1) Slime Mold Intelligence


Slotting slime molds into the tree of life is not the only slippery thing about them. Slime molds have no identifiable intelligence system, but their behavior is far from brainless.

Slime molds are smarter than they look (which, in of itself, is not much of an accomplishment, considering how they look). Slime molds can solve mazes and anticipate periodic events.

This simple organism has the ability to find the minimum-length solution between 2 points in a labyrinth. The cell is capable of ‘intelligent’ behavior, even in complicated situations in which it is difficult to optimize survival tasks. ~ Japanese biologist Toshiyuki NakagaiĀ et al

A slime mold leaves behind a slime trail behind as it travels, which it can use to tell where it has already been. This helps it navigate to food supplies.

In reaching out for food, slime molds create complex communication networks; as complex and as efficient as human highway systems. A slime mold also recognizes and reacts to trails left by other slime molds.

Slime molds are nutritionally aware. They do best on a diet that is 1/3rd carbs and 2/3rds protein. When given a choice, they consistently choose food that has an optimal balance of nutrients.

Slime molds have long-term memory. They learn patterns and anticipate periodic events. And they pass their knowledge on.

Slime molds exhibit transfer of learned behaviour during cell fusion. ~ French biologist Audrey DussutourĀ & American biologist David Vogel

Slime molds demonstrate memory and problem-solving without having any identifiable physical structure that supports these abilities. Slime shows that intelligence is all in the mind.