Slime Molds Could Teach Us How To Build Better Roads

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Some slime molds seem supernaturally gifted at choosing the best route for finding food. They'll abandon inefficient trails and forge strong ones that lead to food sources, a trait that has led scientists to recreate major highway maps with them. By placing oatmeal on the points of a Petri dish that correspond to large railway stations, researchers built a tiny model of the Tokyo rail system with a slime mold in 2010. Studying the molds' predictive powers could eventually lead to better urban planning and road construction.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Army ants use pheromones and touch to communicate group decisions and solve problems. 01:39

  2. Watch army ants create and adjust a living bridge to shorten the pathway the group takes: 02:52

  3. In one study, slime molds given a choice between two paths chose the path that led to more food 80–85% of the time. 05:00

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