Once in a while I ask myself if I regret not doing research in Biology using a specific organism instead of what I am doing now? The computational research I do is very abstract and about processes and theories. I don’t have a nice cute organism to show, with fur and cute eyes who might even be endangered. The critters I work with are abstract and are moving pixels at best.
The only problem I encounter is talking to my kids. They like animals and plants and couldn’t care less for evolutionary mechanism, game theory, or abstract principles… they want to watch something and see action. But yesterday that changed. I am working on the EvoSphere project where we evolve virtual critters in a 3d physics environment, and that means they have bodies! While testing a couple of parameters the boys came around and asked what I am doing. Some explaining later they decided that I should do something else and just watched fascinated an evolving population … something that not only other kids but other scientist rarely observed. Made my day:
While they were watching the whole population, here is at least the evolution of a blocky critter on the line of decent for the first 20 generations for you: