Courtesy of a comment on …and Then There’s Physics I present a fascinating video that reveals what happens when a society has no barriers to growth:
In 1968, an expert on animal behaviour and population control called John B. Calhoun built what was essentially a utopia for mice that was purpose built to satisfy their every need. Despite going out of his way to ensure the inhabitants of his perfect mouse society never wanted for anything, within 2 years virtually the entire population was dead. So what happened?
Here’s a transcript of the video.
This post is one of the wibblettes here that appears to have lasting appeal; it keeps popping up in the ‘popular posts’ widget. As I have no idea why it does that, I thought I’d revisit it to try to figure out a reason for it.
I followed the link to the transcript, and read the comments there; a couple were, I think, particularly insightful:
What about the inbreeding? Maybe should of started with 100 couples, and also “things to do” like wheels, games, etc.
ThankYouForThinking:Comments on the post ‘That Time a Guy Tried to Build a Utopia for Mice and it all Went to Hell’ on ‘Today I Found Out’
-“things to do” like wheels, games, etc.
NOTHING I’ve ever read about these so-called “mouse utopias” indicates that there was ever anything resembling any form of ENRICHMENT for the (very intelligent!) rats (and later mice). Keeping them in an enclosed space means they can’t travel so there was no novelty in their lives–no new experiences; no curiosities to examine, nothing to try out. There is no indication that there were any interesting structures for them to climb on, or any new things for them to chew on–I doubt there was even any food ever offered to them besides the same lab block day after day, which is not a “perfect” life for such an omnivorous and opportunistic eater like our own species! They did nothing but eat, groom and sleep or turned to fighting because there was literally nothing else to do!
These experiments don’t show what happens when you put a species in utopia, because this was not a utopia in the slightest. These experiments show what happens what you put a species in a mind-numbing PRISON, no matter how comfortable. Surprise surprise, prisons make animals (including humans) go crazy. Now if only we could get the justice system to stop using them…
Of course that doesn’t solve the ‘why is this post popular’ conundrum… but it does suggest that perhaps it’s time for someone to investigate ‘Universe 26’?