This video is about natural selection. If you’ve watched the previous videos in this series, you’ve seen these blob creatures live, die, and replicate; but it’s been a little bit artificial. We just gave each type of creature a replication chance and a death chance and we saw what happened. With natural selection though, we usually can’t know precise replication and death chances. Instead, selection comes from interactions between a creature’s traits and its environment. So in this video we’re going to make a real evolving system by putting our blob creatures into a simple environment and giving them traits. Let’s see what we can learn by watching some actual natural selection happen. Alright so what does our environment look like? Creatures will live on this plane, and each morning, food appears on the plane and the blobs emerge from their homes around the edge to go out and eat the food. Here are the rules: if a blob fails to find any food before running out of energy, it will die. If a blob gets one piece of food and manages to get back home to the edge, it will live on to the next day. And, if a blob gets two pieces and gets home, it will survive to the next day and also replicate, adding another creature to the next day. So that’s the environment. Before we talk about a creatures traits and how they might vary, let’s just watch these creatures live their lives for a few generations. So we see that these creatures can manage to live over several generations in this environment and The number of creatures actually expanded over the first few days and then leveled off. So the population started out below the carrying capacity but once the population expanded to around 95, the creatures really had to compete with each other for food. Once we allow mutations, the variation will give some creatures an advantage and we’ll start seeing some natural selection of traits. So let’s turn on mutations and see what happens. Let’s start out with one trade varying: speed. Each time a creature replicates, there’s a chance that a mutation will give the new creature a slightly lower or slightly higher speed. Speed is great because it allows you to beat other creatures to the food; but speed will also have a cost: moving quickly is less efficient. If a creature speed is doubled, it will cover a distance in half the time but use twice as much energy to go that distance. Faster creatures can’t forage over as much ground as slower creatures, so they might not find food before running out of energy. If we unpause this world with speed mutations turned on, what would you predict? When the faster creatures start appearing, will they sprint to victory? Or will the slower creatures prove the virtue of patience? It could also turn out that the current creatures have struck a good balance, or it could be that being fast and being slow are both good strategies; it’s hard to say at this point. We’ll just have to unpause and see what the nature of the situation is. Let’s speed it up a bit so we can see more generations. All right, so it turns out to be worth sacrificing efficiency for speed in this environment. Or, at least the initial speed value I picked was slower than optimal. This is our first example of natural selection. We didn’t know the best speed value going in, but the creatures mutated and somewhat randomly tried out different speed values, and then through natural selection the population evolved to have a higher average speed over time. I want to double down on that last point: the *population* evolved. As much as we all love Pokemon, individuals don’t evolve in the biological sense of the word. Populations evolve over generations. One interesting thing to notice is that as the average speed of the population went up, the number of creatures in any given day tended to go down. The creatures now compete more fiercely and are less efficient overall. This is part of the meaning of the term “Selfish Gene”. We’ll talk more about genes and the term “Selfish Gene” in future videos, but for now just notice that even though we might call these creatures better because they did better in the competition for survival, the total population size actually went down. Selection didn’t happen for the good of the species as a whole, but again, more on that in future videos. Alright, now that we’ve gotten our feet wet with one varying trait, let’s add two more: size and sense. First, size. Size scales the creature in all three dimensions. The benefit of size is that it lets you eat other creatures if you’re at least 20% larger than them. Getting an extra food source is great if you can pull it off, but being big costs a lot of energy. The energy cost depends on the cube of a creature size value I could have picked any function for the energy cost I suppose, but I made it a cube because volume scales as the cube of length, and volume is closely linked to the mass a creature has to carry around. The total energy cost of a creature’s movement each time step is equal to the cube of the creature’s size times the square of the creatures speed from before, which you might notice is reminiscent of the formula for kinetic energy. But anyway, it’s especially costly to be both big and fast. And, on top of this cost, smaller creatures will actually run from creatures big enough to eat them. So, to benefit from being big, you need at least some speed. Long story short, being big is high-risk and high-reward. The third trait is sense. Each creature has a certain sensing distance at which it can sense food or other creatures. Once a creature sees food or a smaller creature, it can move straight toward it. Or, if it sees a bigger creature it can run away. This sensing distance gets larger as a creature’s sense rate goes up, allowing it to avoid danger and be more efficient with its movements. Each time step, a creature pays a movement energy cost which depends on its size and speed, and a sensing energy cost which is just equal to its sense rate. All right, so now that we have three traits, let’s rewind to before we turned on speed mutations, and instead, turn on mutations for all three traits. To keep track of what’s happening to all three traits at once, we’re going to use this three dimensional graph. Each dot in the graph represents one creature, and the position of the dot depends on the speed, size, and sense values for that creature. All right, let’s see how it goes. So what can we say about the results? The first thing I notice is that the average speed is significantly different from what it was when only speed was allowed to vary, which is a little bit surprising because we didn’t explicitly change anything about how speed works. But with sense and size able to vary, different creatures were able to appear. A creature’s environment includes all the creatures around it, and for whatever reason, speed just wasn’t as valuable this time around. And there’s one other thing I noticed: when I first ran the simulation, I thought there would be a pretty intense selection toward creatures with higher sense, because sense informs everything else that creature does and it doesn’t cost very much. But instead, sense is fairly spread out and centered roughly around the starting value. That’s the thing about natural selection. It doesn’t care what I or anyone else thinks is best. It. Just does what it does. All right, one last simulation. Let’s see what happens if we change the environment more explicitly. Let’s go to ten food each day. It’s pretty clear that this won’t be able to support the population of about 50 creatures we currently have, so the number of creatures will go down. But what else will happen? I don’t know. We’ll just have to see. Hm. Okay, well, apparently, the creatures that thrived with 100 food just aren’t able to cut it with only ten, even though there should be enough for, say, five to ten creatures. So it looks like if it’s going to be possible to survive with only ten food, there’s gonna have to be some time for the population to adjust. So instead, let’s do this: we’ll rewind to before we reduce the food and then every two days we’ll put out one less piece of food until eventually we’re only putting out 10 pieces of food each day. All right… So it’s not too surprising that in a lower food environment, things aren’t just crowded and being big just isn’t worth it anymore. Sense, on the other hand, became super valuable now that a low sense creature can easily go a whole day without seeing anything, and die. And now speed is actually really valuable again. This surprised me actually; I thought in a sparse environment that efficiency would be king, making both size and speed go down, but apparently speed is actually more valuable now. So again, I can’t predict it. So other than reiterating the fact that I don’t know what’s going to happen, what can this teach us? Well, to put it plainly: the environment matters. A lot. Reducing the amount of food didn’t just reduce the number of creatures; it totally changed which creatures exist. You’ll often see evolution depicted as this march toward more and more advanced or complex or higher creatures, but that’s not how it is at all. The only thing that matters is how well the creature is adapted to its environment. Okay, so, before we go, let’s do a quick recap: Even with this relatively simple environment we created, we were able to see some important principles in action. But we’re not done yet. In the next few videos, we’ll keep exploring natural selection by trying to see how some more complicated and even counterintuitive traits can be favored. See you then!

Simulating Natural Selection
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100 thoughts on “Simulating Natural Selection

  • April 28, 2019 at 8:27 pm
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    If you're about to leave a comment saying that faster creatures aren't actually less efficient, read this first. I presented that part a bit strangely.

    At 2:14, I say moving quickly is less efficient, giving the example of a creature moving a unit distance in half the time, using twice the energy. Then, at 4:53, I show a formula for the energy cost per unit time, which depends on the square of the creature's speed.

    I gave distance per time, energy per time, and distance per energy at separate parts of the video, and that was confusing.

    So here's a more explicit summary.
    If we double a creature's speed…
    – its distance per time is doubled (the definition of speed)
    – its energy per time is quadrupled (because it depends on the square of speed)
    – its distance per energy is halved: (2x distance per time) / (4x energy per unit time)

    That last bullet is the "efficiency" from the video. With its starting energy for a day, a 2x-speed creature can only travel half the distance.

    Reply
  • August 31, 2019 at 11:47 pm
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    Now add another variable for amount of energy.

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  • September 1, 2019 at 10:06 pm
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    Those are so cute

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  • September 2, 2019 at 7:03 pm
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    If evolution was true I wouldn't get sunburnt, evolution needs a few hundred billion years to even be possible. We adapt,adaptation is how we grow as humans. We where created . Easy way to prove evolution is a lie take any person to court who believes it it an they will settle out of court are pay you for that education.

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  • September 3, 2019 at 3:22 am
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    wtf did i just watched>

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  • September 3, 2019 at 4:48 am
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    So is there a way to be naturally unselected? 🤔

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  • September 3, 2019 at 10:14 pm
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    natural selection is when welfare whores get imprisoned

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  • September 4, 2019 at 4:51 am
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    The environment would itself be part of the ecosystem and would evolve. Foodstuffs that were popular would be a victim of their own success and there would be fewer of them in the next iteration. Then creatures that preferred that type of food would decrease in numbers as a result and creatures who liked a more sparse food source and had fared poorly before would come more into prominence. Then the foodstuffs would again adjust accordingly. Probably.

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  • September 4, 2019 at 1:17 pm
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    School but in a fun way, this guy deserves more subs!

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  • September 4, 2019 at 10:01 pm
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    Release this as a downloadable game/simulator thing!
    YOU'D MAKE MILLIONS!

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  • September 4, 2019 at 10:15 pm
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    Can u pls make a tutorial on how to create a simulation like this?

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  • September 5, 2019 at 4:39 pm
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    So, basically you're saying that the government can change environment like, amount of education, to fill profit prisons faster, given that the constant of minimum wage stays minimum and unliveable. Gotcha, we live in a communist country using a republic as a mask.

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  • September 6, 2019 at 6:14 am
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    you d get more complex creatures if you had a larger world with different environments, you eventually get a human creatures that will master all the environments lol. if only your simulation could be that complex.

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  • September 6, 2019 at 1:54 pm
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    Is there any kind of speciation in this simulation, or are all organisms able to interbreed? If it's the latter, it may explain why speed increased in the first example where speed was the only parameter, but not in the second. When speed is the only parameter there is a general drift towards the optimal speed value ( there is essentially one way of making a good living in this world). When multiple parameters can be tweaked, there are pressures driving drifts in opposing directions (you can make a good living being big, or being small). When all organisms can interbreed, the split can never happen and the organisms hover around a mid point. Unless you did indeed add speciation, and then I'm just talking shit 😛

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  • September 6, 2019 at 10:13 pm
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    Why did this popup into my reccomended?

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  • September 7, 2019 at 12:39 am
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    That's not evolution

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  • September 7, 2019 at 9:13 am
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    THE PEARS MUST CONSUME

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  • September 7, 2019 at 1:02 pm
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    You just made these guys cannibals, you monster!

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  • September 7, 2019 at 9:52 pm
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    Too many assumptions and variables. I'm on that bullshit side of Youtube again. Back to reality I go. Thanks for the comedy though.

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  • September 8, 2019 at 6:58 am
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    black blobs should be faster

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  • September 8, 2019 at 6:33 pm
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    Wow, this is so awesome! Did you create this simulator? What engine are you using and how are you getting the outputs? Very curious and interested!

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  • September 9, 2019 at 10:17 pm
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    brilliant!

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  • September 10, 2019 at 1:07 am
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    What program did you use?

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  • September 10, 2019 at 9:58 am
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    This is….amazing

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  • September 10, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    2:25 Dude. You are not sacrificing efficiency at all. To make this interessting make them A: time = 1.0 energy = 1.0 B: time 0.5 energy = 3.0

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  • September 11, 2019 at 2:57 am
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    go read the book miracles

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  • September 11, 2019 at 5:00 am
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    I love this, but don't use the 3D graph, you can't see what the fuck is going on.

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  • September 12, 2019 at 8:52 am
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    How can we use this knowledge to decrease the human population? Yes, I said DEcrease. There are far too many humal individuals living on this planet to keep the ecosystem healthy and balanced. The human population must shrink.

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  • September 13, 2019 at 4:12 am
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    Our environment is THE most governing factor in life. Particularly the immediate environment but through the advances in technology that has expanded to effect us on a global scale, some more than others. What's more is that "sense" is what we're focused on, it may not seem that way due to so many varying occupations and not to mention the "stupids" of the world but all in all, we have become a species relying almost entirely on sense or rather, making sense. I have a strong suspicion that those who have studied evolution and this "natural selection", know full well what our life styles i.e our choices and our behavior – are doing to us as our species advances and have methodically worked out how to manipulate us into behaving in a way that contributes largely to our own, "natural selection". In other words, what I'm saying is that we are now almost definitely being trained to function in a manner that is in fact counter productive to the evolution which natural selection intended for us. We – over time – will in essence wither away to become nothing but brains that rely on other species or technology to do the things we are no longer able to do on a physically level. That technology or biology is however, as we all know, not easily accessible to the general public as can be seen with mass production of goods and the genetic alteration and ownership over organics that are now being patented by large corporations like Monsanto (not Monsanto anymore i know). The matter of "natural selection" is VASTLY complicated yet still in a way, remarkably simple, only in the sense that if you control the environment, you too control the evolution. We need to wake up and smell the fucking roses boys and girls.

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  • September 14, 2019 at 12:41 am
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    the last run showed a seperation and extinction of one type..

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  • September 14, 2019 at 8:08 pm
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    I thought this video title gonna simulate Columbine 🙂

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  • September 15, 2019 at 6:34 am
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    0:33 Did the pink blob just eat a green blob?

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  • September 15, 2019 at 10:09 pm
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    The blobs would always favour speed eventually because of this: it takes the same energy to reach somewhere, but you can do it faster

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  • September 16, 2019 at 2:29 pm
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    7:40 bruh they just went extinct

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  • September 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm
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    Awesome !

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  • September 17, 2019 at 2:41 am
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    Amazing! Do you happen to know whether someone has applied this analysis to an economic growth model? Which language did you use to run the calculations?

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  • September 17, 2019 at 3:48 am
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    Holy shit, the comment section here is a minefield. As expected.
    Religion is a mental illness. Made more clear by the fact that these people sound like fucking retards.

    Reply
  • September 17, 2019 at 7:23 pm
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    Me:*gets call* oh? Oh hello! Yea I’m watching little avocados fight for survival, you? The channel is called primer. Okay cya

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  • September 17, 2019 at 8:21 pm
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    What's interesting about the slow decrease of food simulation is that the population seems to split into two different directions for a generation or two, before one strategy wins out.

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  • September 18, 2019 at 3:29 am
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    Another interesting point about evolution that you didn't mention here is that the overwhelming majority of genetic mutations have absolutely no bearing on the survivability of a creature. As far as I can tell, what we think of as evolution does not occur primarily when an animal mutates. Rather it occurs when an environmental change kills off individuals that already have previously irrelevant genetic traits that make them unsuitable for the new environment. For example, the wolf gene pool already contained every possible breed of dog. The genes for a poodle, for example, simply weren't expressed until humans removed all non-poodle genes from the gene pool. Another example would be the black death. Some Europeans randomly mutated genetic immunity to yersinia pestis long before its introduction to Europe, but you wouldn't truly say the European population "evolved" genetic immunity until the 50% who didn't have it were removed from the gene pool.

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  • September 18, 2019 at 3:29 am
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    Ok, but to be more accurate to the random mutations I think you should instead make some code that will randomly edit your existing code and add to it. It goes through the code and will randomly change a random number of characters to random other characters. If the change produces an error or nothing at all then remove the change. If the change produces something that works then keep the change and continue from there. Then let's see how many times you have to run it before you end up with the jelly bean men. Keep in mind the code could eventually create images and place colors on them if you let it run long enough.

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  • September 18, 2019 at 10:08 pm
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    Still 0 evidence for evolution

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  • September 19, 2019 at 10:31 am
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    Imagine if the world was like this…… 😮

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  • September 20, 2019 at 10:30 pm
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    Excellent demonstrations. I am looking forward to more.

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  • September 21, 2019 at 3:54 am
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    This is next level

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  • September 21, 2019 at 12:32 pm
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    1:15 When your'e home alone and eat more than 3 meals a day.

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  • September 21, 2019 at 12:42 pm
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    More speed never has downsides, if the needed energy is also just double and not more. It only means, the creature reaches the food earlier. Except more speed only influences forward speed but not rotation speed maybe.

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  • September 22, 2019 at 3:29 am
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    aw this reminds me of Conways game of life

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  • September 22, 2019 at 3:37 pm
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    it should happen to humans but we keep the weak alive….

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  • September 23, 2019 at 5:58 am
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    3:25 their backs looks like flavoured pears

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  • September 23, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    Great simulation, but the problem is that energy may not be limited. In a real environment the more food and resources you could get, the more energy you could get, up to a limit, but mutations in energy limits and resources also affect this. So for this calculation a mutation in MAX energy should be added, and also the ability to convert food into energy. Eg. Starts the day with 100 energy, and top energy for the day is 300. Imagining that one food block is equal to 100 energy, if the blob for example consumed 2 blocks it could use the energy to replicate or to look for more food filling up energy stores for the next day. Let me know what you think! Subscribed

    Reply
  • September 23, 2019 at 1:44 pm
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    I'd like to do things like this, but i don't have a clue of how to start.

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  • September 23, 2019 at 6:53 pm
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    A couple of points:

    1. One of the things I noticed was the random placement of food items. In nature, a pear (for example) grows on a pear tree, and it's highly unlikely that that pear tree is going to move anywhere… even over the course of several generations in fact. And so this little sim was a bit more random than what takes place in nature (I'm talking about this particular context only, of course – other food items such as small mammals might in fact be spread around more randomly). A clever addition, imo, would have been to include at least two different food types – static types (which perhaps have around 0.25 Energy) and non-static types (which, although harder to find, provide our blobby friends with around 1 Energy).

    2. Whilst it was fun to see the addition (and the effects) of speed, size and sense, another trait which I feel would have been helpful to the blobbies is inherited memory. This would help each new generation blessed with a good memory stat locate a static food type (mentioned above) more easily and in a more focussed way over their speedy, sizeable, sense-enhanced 'rivals'.

    Would have been interesting to see how things panned out with those two additions.

    Anyway, fun vid to watch. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  • September 24, 2019 at 2:59 am
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    Cool experiments. Can we really call it an experiment though, when we didn't form a hypothesis and arrived at no conclusions?

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  • September 24, 2019 at 10:31 am
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    You should make a 24 hours version of blobs roaming around.

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  • September 24, 2019 at 6:18 pm
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    Imagine we can make a simulation that inserts every property of physics and everything on the earth to look into the future.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 2:21 am
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    To really change things up increase the energy reserve and let the creatures live for 2 to 3 days without food. Now make the food restore only a portion of the energy and allow the creatures to eat a full days/energy worth of food. The dynamics should be completely different and your results will be completely different as well.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 1:47 pm
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    Right around 2:30 this dude created a simulation that is basically Hardy-Wienberg equilibrium and the 3 graphs related to it. Absolutely wonderful

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  • September 26, 2019 at 6:09 am
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    When they replicated they only produced one 'newby' every time.i think that's why population decreased so much. Try giving them 4 kids every time (used to be the average) and see what happens.

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  • September 26, 2019 at 9:56 am
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    Hi Primer.
    On the second graph (the 3D one) you show the results after 11-12 generations
    It seems very few to see the results of mutations when you have 3 different parameters.
    Did you stop because more generations didn't make any significant change on the graph ?
    I'd guess if you test it for hundreds of generations you would obtain "specific builds" that are the most efficient,
    for exemple "Big-average speed-low sense" and "small-fast-high sense" would beat any other setup…
    It was an interesting video 🙂

    Reply
  • September 27, 2019 at 9:16 am
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    When I was a kid I thought shit like this was boring, now I'm binge watching these vids. lol

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  • September 28, 2019 at 10:59 am
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    Goku. The pinnacle of human enolution.

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  • September 28, 2019 at 11:40 am
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    These 10 minutes were more informative than a week in school

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  • September 28, 2019 at 2:43 pm
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    I love these vids

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  • September 28, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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    We living in Simulation!

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  • September 29, 2019 at 11:08 am
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    What works in simulation will never work in real life because you can not describe life in any language and make life using computing, that's pointless and waste of time.

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  • September 29, 2019 at 4:10 pm
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    Pink bois be like:
    i am speed kachow

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  • September 29, 2019 at 10:02 pm
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    Ily

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  • September 29, 2019 at 10:02 pm
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    Ily

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  • September 29, 2019 at 10:03 pm
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    Yeet

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  • September 30, 2019 at 4:31 am
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    I think these are cool but I would appreciate if we could see the blobs fuckin. Just blobs laying blob pipe in a way that makes you feel inadequate. Thank you for your consideration.

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  • September 30, 2019 at 10:10 am
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    Does anyone know what simulator this person uses? I want to know for some experiments for myself because, nature has way more variables than is listed, or what he uses.

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  • September 30, 2019 at 11:45 am
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    Wow, that was super cool

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  • September 30, 2019 at 5:07 pm
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    Biology and 3d together in a cool way!

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  • September 30, 2019 at 5:22 pm
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    Hmmm.. So Americans have had more food than Chinese. This makes sense.

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  • October 1, 2019 at 9:52 am
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    How comes we still have millions and millions of primates called hooligans ?

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  • October 2, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Simulations are great. They're just satisfying to watch. Sometimes satisfying to build. And this kinda reiterates that whole, "A fool says he knows everything, a genius says he knows nothing."

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  • October 4, 2019 at 2:14 am
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    in the lower food environment, the population as a whole have higher sense so chances are if one blob can see food, several others can see it too. i think that's why speed is valuable: it's not enough for them to casually stroll around – they race to get what they can

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  • October 4, 2019 at 3:13 pm
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    How did you program the diagrams? Which language did you use?

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  • October 4, 2019 at 5:13 pm
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    When you run these scenarios how many iterations do you run?

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  • October 4, 2019 at 5:21 pm
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    Moral: to be the next Usian bolt, you have to be pink.

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  • October 4, 2019 at 6:07 pm
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    love your work bro!! hope to see more ! * o *

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  • October 4, 2019 at 6:35 pm
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    me gustaria q lo hiciecen en español porq no entiendo ni pepino, vine gracias a UPTD 😛

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 7:31 pm
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    Here we simulate complete bullshit. Surprise, it doesn't work without hand holding, carefully scripted rules, and a number of interventions shaping the outcome to align with our biases. Well done. You have artfully illustrated how evolution as accepted by the masses is a baseless bullshit theory. Keep going, at some point the truth will dawn on you.

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 1:33 am
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    first comment

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  • October 5, 2019 at 4:11 pm
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    Why you don't create a simulation where the creatures are divide in groups and they share also food? P.s. what program do you use for create simoulations?

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  • October 5, 2019 at 5:20 pm
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    Loved it!

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  • October 5, 2019 at 6:38 pm
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    Subtitles Spanish pls :c

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  • October 5, 2019 at 11:11 pm
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    THIS NEEDS TO BECOME A APP THAT LETS YOU SIMULATE THINGS <3

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  • October 5, 2019 at 11:26 pm
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    My science teacher makes this 9999 times harder to understand

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  • October 6, 2019 at 5:36 pm
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    Excellent introductory video to, what would hardly anyone guess – ecology . This is what ecology is all about. Ecology ≠ environmentalism.

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  • October 6, 2019 at 8:41 pm
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    Playing god I see..

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  • October 7, 2019 at 4:41 am
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    I'm pretty sure the statement "Selection is not for the good of species" is always wrong.
    The number of the creatures is not the right measure for the good of species.

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  • October 7, 2019 at 8:21 am
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    I can tell you these creatures evolved long before you did this…I played volleyball with them around 20 years ago.

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  • October 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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    Majin Goku wtf

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  • October 7, 2019 at 4:47 pm
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    This is how you should teach biology. Run a simulation with blob thingys

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  • October 7, 2019 at 5:51 pm
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    Maybe the size was really too risky. For example, eating another blob could have given 2 points (allowing to reproduce), and being bigger allows to store more energy.

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  • October 8, 2019 at 1:38 pm
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    how do you create this type of simulations? Any kind of rendering tool or programming language?

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 2:02 pm
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    I believe that small creatures need to eat more food in comparison to their size, whilst bigger animals eat less if you look at their size. The shrew and the whale are good examples if you check their metabolisms

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  • October 9, 2019 at 7:39 pm
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    No entendí mucho pero me gustó mucho ver como los blobs morían 😀

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