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Fish Forks: behavioural individuality among genetically identical fish…

… and the impossibility of equality.

“Individuality might be present at birth (A) or emerge gradually (B) or in an abrupt fashion (C) after birth”

This is an interesting little study on the origins of individuality, diversity, and inequality (in fish). Recommended.

Behavioral individuality is a ubiquitous phenomenon in animal populations, yet the origins and developmental trajectories of individuality, especially very early in life, are still a black box.

Using a high-resolution tracking system, we mapped the behavioral trajectories of genetically identical fish (Poecilia formosa), separated immediately after birth into identical environments, over the first 10 weeks of their life at 3 s resolution.

We find that (i) strong behavioral individuality is present at the very first day after birth, (ii) behavioral differences at day 1 of life predict behavior up to at least 10 weeks later, and (iii) patterns of individuality strengthen gradually over developmental time.

Behavioral individuality is commonly thought to be caused by differences in genes and/or environmental conditions, including the social environment. Challenging this paradigm, there is accumulating evidence that substantial between-individual variation still develops even among genetically identical individuals reared under highly standardized conditions.

Kate L. Laskowski, David Bierbach, Jolle W. Jolles, Carolina Doran & Max Wolf  – The emergence and development of behavioral individuality in clonal fish (Nature)

See also:

On inequality

Harrison Bergeron: Kurt Vonnegut imagines true equality

Will and Ariel Durant on Inequality, Redistribution, Revolution and the Nature of Society’s Wealth

Astonishing wealth inequality graphic

UK income inequality by ethnicity: data from the ONS

“Empirically sufficient and empirically necessary” – Lant Pritchett on economic growth as the (only) key to poverty reduction

Russ Roberts on inequality and poverty

Remember the name: Persistence of wealth through China’s revolutions

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...