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Author Topic: Mouse "Utopia"  (Read 72 times)

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Offline Almighty Kek

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Mouse "Utopia"
« on: August 07, 2017, 06:12:23 PM »
An interesting experiment where mice were given an "ideal" habitat that could support a population of about 4000.

In reality, their population only reached a little over 2000 and after a period of stagnation, began to plummet until the colony went extinct on its own, despite ample food, water and nesting.


Offline Gopher Gary

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 07:56:28 PM »
Maybe it just proves mice need more out of life than basic survival needs of food water and shelter.  :dunno:
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Offline Pyraxis

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 08:33:37 PM »
It's fascinating. How the social dynamics changed when overcrowding became an issue. Of course mice need privacy and can't be totally healthy living in open little apartment boxes where you can smell and hear your neighbors all the time. They're used to living in dark and enclosed areas: burrows, walls, places like that. But the particular dysfunctions that overtook the young males once the colony passed its population limit: either becoming overly aggressive and scarring each other over a small patch of suboptimal territory in the center of everything, or becoming completely effeminate to the point where they lost all desire/understanding of how to reproduce. That's a pretty significant schism and I can't help but compare it to the whole social justice warriors vs trolls dynamic that has developed on the internet.
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Offline Jack

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 04:46:35 AM »
That's a pretty significant schism and I can't help but compare it to the whole social justice warriors vs trolls dynamic that has developed on the internet.
The only thing it seems comparable to is prison, if people were allowed to breed in prison. It appeared each generation born into the environment was highly dysfunctional, so can only conclude the environment is dysfunctional. Mice are intelligent and curious creatures and the environment offers nothing at all to nurture that, so the first generation born to the environment were violent, and the generation raised by the violent ones were withdrawn.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 04:48:24 AM by Jack »

Offline 'andersom'

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 09:28:23 AM »
I wonder how big the influence of incest is, starting with 8 mice, leading to 2200.

Also makes me think of apathy you can see in groups of people unemployed for multiple  generations. The will to fight/try seems to bleed away.

So, wonder if the option to aim for improvement and the need to strive for staying alive is part of what a mouse needs in life.

Weird to see things were irreversible.
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Offline Jack

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 06:31:13 PM »
So, wonder if the option to aim for improvement and the need to strive for staying alive is part of what a mouse needs in life.
No one really knows why human infants deprived of touch fail to thrive, but it's possible the long term survival of all sentient beings depends on more than meeting the most basic of needs of survival.

Offline Pyraxis

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 06:41:30 PM »
Yeah, the fact that it was irreversible was the most striking thing about it. Even when there were only a few left, the environment wasn't big enough to reawaken the desire/knowledge to thrive. I wonder how genetically related the few remaining mice were. Maybe if they were too similar, they smelled like siblings and that further weakened the will to reproduce.
People just like to think they can know who the monsters are, but they can't.

Offline Walkie

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 08:50:35 AM »
Really intereting. Thanks :)

Of course there are way too many cofounding varianles here, to draw any firm concclusiond. It would be interesting (but exctremely unethical, IMO) to run as a lot of different variations  of this expeiment.  What if you divide the area into a group of mouse villages villages, connected by long run, so the subgroups can get out of each others' faces more easily?

Mice are highly intelligent creatures, but no thought was piut into stimulating their minds, so it's no big surprise that their curiosity atrophied.

This very much reminded me of Seligman's "learned helplessness" experiments. His animals became depressed because the experimental conditions were designed to teach them that there was nothing they could possibly do to avoid some kind of shitty outcome. Parallels with clinically depressed humans were obvious.

In the case of these mice, they are similarly powerless to change their situation in any meaningful; way, because all the supplied resources are identical,  there's nowhere else to go., etc.  And when they nake a little nest for themselves (out of standardised nesting material) , some  great big oaf comes and destroys the nest, replacing tjhe soiled material with clean.  How would we feel about that?  Grareful?  The hell we would.   Looks to me like mice are lot more humans , mentally,  than we like to think.

The mouse colony also reminds me of England in the present day. There are some quite chilling parallels there.  Pretty much all of we English (apart from some of those overprilieged Southerners) feel that England is overpopulated. It's even  come to the point where there's a measurable strain on resources, and EU are starting to agree. But this country has been overpopulated for decades. It was never really about shortage of housing, etc.  so much as shortage of elbow room; too much new  housing being built on green field sites all the time., and property prices spiralling up all the time. There's a very profound sense of "no way out" if you live in an inner-city slum.

Of course , it wouldn't be so bad if theUK population wasn't all crammed into England, especially the North of England . Unlike the Mouse Utopia, the UJK is not uniform, so there's an obvious geographiocal basis for the uneven population distribution.  Historically, it just wasn't so easy to scratch out a living in the hills and moutains of Scotland and Wales. But these days, it mostly founded on socioeconmic factors. Nobody want to movbve away from their best prospects of employment (such as they are) , but on the hand, very few can afford the astronomical housing prices in the South: so one way or another, people drift into that very small area of the UK, not through choice, as such, but but most often driven by ecomomic necessity . Maybe the one big difference bewtween ourselves and the mice is that the outgorup (that is ones who get driven into less desirable territory) is  larger than the ingroup.

Already, the UK's birthrate has fallen below sustenance levels. And some idiots cite that as a reason why we need  immigration. Sheeesh.  I believe that it's because we're overpopulated already. . I just hope that the psychosocial effects turn out to be reversible in humans. unlike those poor mice.

(Oh! and if Odeon calls these observations "racist" please restrain me from strangling him   :LOL:)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 09:06:08 AM by Walkie »

Offline Walkie

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Re: Mouse "Utopia"
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 09:15:05 AM »
That's a pretty significant schism and I can't help but compare it to the whole social justice warriors vs trolls dynamic that has developed on the internet.
There's a thought. Hmm. I wonder what proportion are Brits?