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Study Confirms: Bacteria Have Ability to See Objects "In Basically The Same Way That We Do"

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posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:09 PM
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Scientists have been studying bacteria under a microscope for over 300 years, and have long known that certain species have the ability to sense light, but they hadn't ever realized the extent to which these tiny beings can actually observe the world around them...until now.

This study, published in eLife, reveals that bacteria cells, known as cyanobacteria (slime mold) can act as the equivalent of a microscopic eyeball allowing them to see their world not unlike a human can, only at lower resolution. This is pretty remarkable that bacteria are basically the world's oldest and smallest camera eye.

"The idea that bacteria can see their world in basically the same way that we do is pretty exciting"

The species used for this study - known as Synechocystis, are found in and around fresh water lakes, and employ photosynthesis by utilizing photosensors that also allow them to perceive the position of a light source and move towards it, a phenomenon called phototaxis.

What's more, these little fellas can essentially use their bodies as a spherical lens, and the researchers think their rod like shape can also trap light and sense the direction it is coming from using refraction, acting like an optical fibre of sorts.

"The physical principles for the sensing of light by bacteria and the far more complex vision in animals are similar, but the biological structures are different" says co-author Annegret Wilde from the University of Freiburg.


Here's a cool video of a slime mold solving a maze, long before the results of this study were published. It seems to make more sense in hindsight that it can perhaps see its way around.


From an evolutionary stand point:

The findings are most likely an example of convergent evolution between bacteria and more complex multi-cellular organisms including animals and humans.

Read more at: phys.org...




posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:13 PM
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Your name certainly fits the thread topic as sight has all to do with light. Very interesting and would make a very interesting read, not only of this specific research, but sight as a general topic including human eyesight.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:20 PM
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a reply to: Tiamat384



What's interesting is how the bacteria are able to perceive/observe without a brain.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:22 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect
Well yes without a brain, but the microscopic version, the nucleus still gathers data, does it not?



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:22 PM
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Very cool. Thanks for the info!

This is a very incredible find, it should be another look at how many modern forms of sight could have first began millions of years ago



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:31 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Yes indeed!
Or even billions of years ago
edit on 11-2-2016 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:33 PM
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This really has some implications for the theory of how vision came along. A human retina has about seven layers of neurons (each of the different color receptors is on a separate layer and there is some preprocessing with regard to edge, spot and texture detection). In theory it would only take a few dozen generations for this to form. That's been used as evidence for evolution

It is possible to act on visual input without having a brain. Jellyfish have some basic logic based on the input from all their eye-spots. They keep swimming towards the darkest object they can see until they are in the shade. This is enough to keep them in deep water or under the shade of floating objects.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:37 PM
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originally posted by: PhotonEffect
a reply to: Tiamat384



What's interesting is how the bacteria are able to perceive/observe without a brain.


Exactly, since we process information gathered through the rods and cones, in our brain. For years now I've been under the illusion we 'see' with our brain. And now this slime has waltzed in and completely obliterated that illusion.
I'm so confused.


Great post though, thanks for writing it up.
edit on 11-2-2016 by beansidhe because: punc



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:39 PM
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originally posted by: Tiamat384
a reply to: PhotonEffect
Well yes without a brain, but the microscopic version, the nucleus still gathers data, does it not?



They don't have a brain, they have a quantum computer based on DNA instead.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:42 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

Just like jellyfish!

Ff only these bacteria could speak (to us) now. What a cool discovery, thanks for sharing PhotonEffect!



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:48 PM
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a reply to: BIGPoJo
I didn't say they have a brain...



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:51 PM
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a reply to: beansidhe
Well, the rods and cones are on our eyes, not brains, and our brains simply, or not so simply, process the information.

EDIT: Hope I hadn't misread the rods and cones part, in your post it seemed to me that you were saying they were on the brain.

edit on 11-2-2016 by Tiamat384 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 03:58 PM
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a reply to: Tiamat384

No, it did say that - I had to go back and put the comma in the right place because it originally looked like I was saying we had rods and cones in our brain. I meant eyes, but the comma messed it all up.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 04:02 PM
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a reply to: beansidhe
Ok so I didn't really mess up. That's a funny thought, instead of seeing with our eyes seeing the inside of our skulls with our brain. Terrifying.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 04:08 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

How interesting! i am glad i went around the two large patches of slime mold I found in my backyard today!

I think every cell has intelligence maybe they have sight also. Size is no indication of who is the most intelligent I believe. it would be something to find some mold that proves to be smarter than us and can give us the answers to the universal questions when we learn to stop and find out how to ask.



Under what circumstances would a cell reveal that it is 'intelligent'?

I thought that the best place to start searching was the field of cell movement. A moving cell has to operate its own body in sophisticated ways and, in addition, may have to navigate in space and time while dealing with numerous unforeseeable events, such as encounters with other cells and other objects that its genome could not possibly have anticipated. I think that cell motility, indeed, revealed cell intelligence. This website highlights some of the experiments and offers the images and the arguments that support the claim of cell intelligence.

www.basic.northwestern.edu...



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 04:13 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect
Add to this how bacterium communicate with each other about their environment and it becomes clear how amazing this topic is.


Bacteria help keep us alive and healthy. This has caused me to think twice about using anti-bacterial soap on everything.
edit on 2/11/2016 by Devino because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 04:21 PM
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I reckon these 300 year old sciiiieeeentists are hitting on the Moonshine...Hic!


edit on 11-2-2016 by smurfy because: Text.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 04:26 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

This is a wonderful example of how individuals can also be collectives, and there is never a clear-cut dividing line on where an individual begins and ends. We call each other individual but I would not challenge someone holding a knife that I cannot be divided.



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 04:32 PM
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a reply to: Devino

Yes, this is incredible in its implications I think...

Biofilms are formed thanks to heavy communication between trillions of bacteria across several different species, all cooperating(or sometimes competing) for a common purpose - mostly to defend against immune systems....

They arrange themselves into highly complex and fortified structures that can move as a unit.
Here's one that looks like the universe:


And one that looks oddly like evenly spaced out dominoes:


How these little rascals "know" how to do this is pretty astounding. All in the genetic code somehow.
edit on 11-2-2016 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 04:57 PM
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Wow
Isn't this quite amazing
I was under the belief that bacteria were at their simplest a very basic life form..
To suggest that they have sight makes them a far more complex organism than anyone could have probably imagined
I wonder how many other yrpes of bacteria have sight as well, what other things are being hidden from our understanding because we havnt explored them yet

I guess we can't equate size with intelligence anymore


edit on 11-2-2016 by Raggedyman because: (no reason given)




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