Bacteria Have Eyes


Mar 18, 2013
USA / Europe
Well, it is the entire bacteria actually that is an eye but still it is a pretty monumental discovery. I am waiting on a study that shows bacteria have emotions and then we can officially proclaim that the anthropomorphic principle is correct.

Bacteria 'see' like tiny eyeballs - BBC News

"...In a single-celled pond slime, they observed how incoming rays are bent by the bug's spherical surface and focused in a spot on the far side of the cell. By shuffling along in the opposite direction to that bright spot, the microbe then moves towards the light. Other scientists were surprised and impressed by this "elegant" discovery. Despite being just three micrometres (0.003mm) in diameter, the bacteria in the study use the same physical principles as the eye of a camera or a human."

"...In other words, bright light focused on one side of the bacterium definitely does drive it to run the other way - which under normal circumstances takes it towards the source of the light. In fact, because some amount of light is hitting the cell from all around, the team says that each microbe will have a "360-degree image" of its surroundings focused on the inside of its cell membrane."

"...That image is very fuzzy - with a resolution of about 21 degrees, compared to the 0.02-degree precision of our eyes - but it is enough for photoreceptor molecules, embedded in the cell membrane, to guide the bug's movement. For example, when the researchers shone two separate lights at the cells, they saw two focused bright spots and the bacteria appeared to integrate the information, heading off in an intermediate direction."

"...Commenting on the research, he told BBC News: "This was a mechanism that was missing. We didn't know it and it's a very elegant demonstration - and surprising. "Cyanobacteria are 2.7 billion years old, so it's much older than any animal eye. Presumably, this mechanism has existed for a very long time."


Jun 16, 2015
Huh, very interesting. I assume you've seen the site on Cell Intelligence, since Peat has mentioned it...

One of the most fascinating reads I've had in a while. Where basically he's saying the centrioles act as crude eyes, and I have to run to work so can't dbl check but I want to say the centrioles had similar resolution to the 21 deg.
Nov 26, 2013
The cell is like a crystal...

Hugh Johnson

Mar 14, 2014
The Sultanate of Portugal
Well, it is the entire bacteria actually that is an eye but still it is a pretty monumental discovery. I am waiting on a study that shows bacteria have emotions and then we can officially proclaim that the anthropomorphic principle is correct.

Production of sound waves by bacterial cells and the response of bacterial cells to sound. - PubMed - NCBI

They seem to "talk".

Bacterial twitching motility is coordinated by a two-dimensional tug-of-war with directional memory : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group

They apparently have a memory and complex cooperative structures.

Phys. Rev. E 85, 011914 (2012) - Evolution and stability of altruist strategies in microbial games

They fight wars.

They can learn and plan ahead.

Those things are smarter than I am. Still, I don't think it's enough to establish the anthropomorphic principle. Even if it is my working hypothesis.
Last edited:


Nov 23, 2013
Vegans might have to reconsider fermented foods.


Mar 29, 2014
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