Smart amoebas reveal origins of primitive intelligence

October 30, 2008

The amoeba's interior contains a watery sol – a solid suspended in liquid – within a thick viscous gel. The sol flows through the gel like water through a sponge, creating a network of low-viscosity channels. Those channels are strengthened as long as the amoeba continues to respond to a static environment, but if that environment changes the channels gradually break down and a new network appears as the amoeba adapts. For a short while, though, the amoeba retains a “memory” of those earlier conditions.

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