Resurrection of the biomorphs
“ The biomorph experiment was one of the first ‘apps’ that demonstrated the fundamentals of evolution as described by Darwin. It’s sad to think what else we may have lost on the way”
Medical Director, PRAESENTIA
It’s interesting to think what has been lost since the internet began. It has been 30 years since Richard Dawkins published ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ and then went on to write his biomorph algorithm to demonstrate evolution in action. These were let loose upon the public at the inaugural Artificial Life conference at Los Alamos in New Mexico in 1987. Back then we hadn’t set the standards that the internet and the world wide web would grow by and the biomorph programme (having been written in Pascal) fell foul of being in the ‘wrong standard’. It was lost but now Penguin has brought the critters back.
The biomorph programme allowed the user to start with small stick creatures and through selective evolution, by choosing the father and mother of the next generation, ultimately ending up with something that resembled an insect. 20 years later having read D’Arcy Thompson’s book ‘on growth and form‘, Dawkins developed a similar programme for evolving shells. Thompson’s book described how three indices plotted inside a cube described any shell structure. Penguin to celebrate the relaunch of three of Dawkins’s key books; The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable and Unweaving the Rainbow have also resurrected the shell algorithm along with the biomorphs. This can be found at www.mountimprobable.com. The website allows the user to enter a special competition, to create their own biomorph or shell.
The programmes and the books are still valid today as when they were first launched. The biomorph experiment was one of the first ‘apps’ that demonstrated the fundamentals of evolution as described by Darwin. It’s sad to think what else we may have lost on the way.
- http://www.mountimprobable.com/ (accessed 13th June 2016)
- Astronomers discover first cloudless,...on January, 2021 at 11:54 pm
Astronomers have detected the first Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its observable atmosphere.
- Saturn's tilt caused by its moons, researchers sayon January, 2021 at 6:21 pm
Scientists have just shown that the influence of Saturn's satellites can explain the tilt of the rotation axis of the gas giant. Their work also predicts that the tilt will increase even further over the next few billion years.
- Butterfly wing clap explains mystery of flighton January, 2021 at 6:20 pm
The fluttery flight of butterflies has so far been somewhat of a mystery to researchers, given their unusually large and broad wings relative to their body size. Now researchers have studied the aerodynamics of butterflies in a wind tunnel. The results suggest that butterflies use a highly […]
- Immune system mounts a lasting defense after...on January, 2021 at 6:19 pm
Study participants continued to improve their antibodies months after initial infection, potentially due to exposure to remnants of the virus hidden in the gut.
- Much of Earth's nitrogen was locally sourcedon January, 2021 at 6:17 pm
Scientists show evidence that nitrogen acquired during Earth's formation came from both the inner and outer regions of the protoplanetary disk. The study has implications for signs of potential habitability of exoplanets.
- A 'super-puff' planet like no otheron January, 2021 at 4:31 pm
Astronomers discover that the core mass of exoplanet WASP-107b is much lower than previously thought possible for a gas-giant planet.