Scientists have discovered that the tiny, single cells show the hallmarks of intelligence.
At Phys.Org they report on a study conducted by a Belgian and French team.
Here’s a snippet from Phys.Org:
A slime made up of independent, single cells, they found, can “learn” to avoid irritants despite having no central nervous system.
“Tantalizing results suggest that the hallmarks for learning can occur at the level of single cells,” the team wrote in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The team wanted to see whether an organism without a nervous system could similarly “learn” from experience and change its behaviour accordingly.
They chose a very humble life form indeed—Physarum polycephalum, also known as “many-headed slime”. . . .
These findings in an organism that preceded humans on Earth by some 500 million years, suggests that “learning” may predate the emergence of nervous systems, said the researchers.
“Our results point to the diversity of organisms lacking neurons,” they wrote, “which likely display a hitherto unrecognized capacity for learning.”
The discovery may boost understanding of the behaviour of other simple organisms like viruses and bacteria.
Well, if “intelligence” is not a result of “multicelluarity,” then it is not a “inter-cellular” phenomena, but an “intra-cellular” phenomena. That is, “intelligence” is a property of the cell.
And, of course, the obvious question is: WHERE is this “intelligence” to be found in the cell? I know! I know! I know!