Order arising from Chaos!

Have you ever asked why a zebra has that specific pattern of black and white stripes all over its body? Have you thought how does it comes into existence? Or, have you noticed how ordered are the ripples present over a sand-dune? Fascinating, such questions seem! Let me post another question… Have you noticed in traffic how properly arranged all vehicles are so that none of them touches each other, or how distinctly each bird within a flock moves so that it feels as if the flock of birds is dancing on a rhythm!!

The answer to all the questions is a phenomena referred as “Self Organization”.

Self-organization is also known as the process of pattern formation. How some form of overall order comes into existence by interaction of various smaller components of a disorganized system. It is a spontaneous process which takes place on its own and has no controlling agent or factor. But it is an evolutionary process. An evident example of it is the home of the termites formed within as well as above the layer of earth. It can be as complex as possible. But how do they build such a structure?

The meticulously prepared pattern in a bee-hive
A Termite Mound

Without possible commands from a leader, termites built their own home and such a giant one too. Another example is the bee-hive prepared by bees. How astonishing is such a structure which gets prepared in a night and with highly intricate hexagonal pattern present in it. Is this a mere co-incidence or does God gives them the idea? The answer possibly is that bees as well as termites found out a pattern which took place as a result of their evolution and probably billions of failed attempts and millions of improper structuring led to this evolved pattern we see within their homes. This is no co-incidence.

Stripes on a zebra

So coming to the stripes of the zebra which is more of a genetic phenomenon developed due to a process of natural selection. It is said the zebra developed stripes in order to avoid the sitting of flies on its back. But then the question is how does this process happens? The answer is actually simple. Certain genes present in the zebra produce more melanin (a pigment which makes the skin appear darker) in certain areas while in certain areas it doesn’t. So astonishing? So why don’t we have such stripes or why did god chose the zebra to have such stripes? Such questions do arise. The answer is given by Darwin’s theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. It states that the certain characteristics which are necessary for a certain species for its survival will be developed by themselves. As the environment changes the changes necessary for survival also changes.

Ripples on Sand-dunes

Finally coming to the inanimate objects which also show a certain pattern in their structure. Like the ridges formed on a sand-dune. This is the most spectacular example of self-organization. The simple process of saltation takes place. The wind acts on each and every grain of sand and the dynamic nature of each grain causes them to organize themselves into shallow crests and troughs occasionally.
As a result the heavier grains form the crests causing the smaller ones to slip below and form troughs.

I was so largely intrigued by these phenomena that I wanted to share them and make you aware that indeed there is order in chaos…

Do share if you enjoyed my work 🙂

(Image courtesy: Google, Wikipedia)