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# Math movie: First Life with David Attenborough - Oldest Animals

By Murray Bourne, 18 Jun 2011

David Attenborough points out how early life forms - in this case "proto-animals" - made use of fractals as a logical design element. The animals look very fern-like.

A proto-animal can be thought of as a well-developed plant - one that is almost an animal. It has soft cell walls (where a plant's cell walls are hard), and it relies on outside sources for food (rather than making food as plants do with photosynthesis).

Fractals are produced by iterating complex numbers in special ways. See Fractals for some background.

I've been a fan of Attenborough for years. I love his British-reserved (but bubbling, nevertheless) enthusiasm for all living creatures. I also like the way he interprets animal behavior.

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