Decoupling Circuitry (2020)
“I shall largely speak of mice, but my thoughts are on man,
on healing, on life and its evolution.
Threatening life and evolution are the two deaths,
death of the spirit and death of the body.
Evolution, in terms of ancient wisdom,
is the acquisition of access to the tree of life.”
John B Calhoun (1973)
In the 1962 study, John B. Calhoun and his researchers created a series of "rat utopias" - enclosed spaces in which rats were given unlimited access to food and water, enabling unfettered population growth. Population peaked at 2,200 mice and thereafter exhibited a variety of abnormal, often destructive behaviors. By the 600th day, the population was on its way to extinction.
A closed physical universe was formed by four 54 inch high walls forming a square of side 101 inches.
Mice climbing across the outer surface of the tunnel gained access to the food hopper. Twentyfive mice could feed simultaneously on a hopper. By further climbing up the outside surface of the tunnels mice had access to a 4 x 18 inch (10 x 45 cm) platform above which four water bottles were suspended. Two mice could drink simultaneously at each bottle. An abundant supply of paper strips for nesting material was always available on the floor a few inches out from the bases of the tunnels.
The mouse universe was located on the second floor of a prefabricated metal building. During the cooler months of the year ambient temperature was kept close to 68°F (20°C). During the warmer months of the year large exhaust fans kept ambient temperatures mostly within the 70-90'F (21-32°C) range of the outside environment. Being indoors, rain could not contribute to debilitation.
The Balb C albino house mice (Mus musculus) used as colonizers in this study were obtained from the National Institutes of Health breeding colony where extreme precautions are followed to preclude establishment of epidemic type diseases such as salmonella.
No predators were present.