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Encyclopedia > Biomimicry

Biomimicry (also biomimickry) is the conscious copying of examples and mechanisms from natural organisms and ecologies. It is a form of applied case-based reasoning, treating nature itself as a database of solutions that already work. Proponents argue that all natural life forms minimize and ecological niches remove failures.

Although almost all engineering could be said to be a form of biomimicry, the modern origins of this field are usually attributed to Buckminster Fuller and its later codification as a field of study to Lynn Margulis.

A political form of biomimcry is bioregional democracy, wherein political borders conform to natural ecoregions rather than human cultures or the outcomes of prior conflicts.

Critics of these approaches often argue that ecological selection itself is a poor model of minimizing manufacturing complexity or conflict, and that the free market relies on conscious cooperation, agreement, and standards as much as on efficiency - more analogous to sexual selection. Charles Darwin himself contended that both were balanced in natural selection - although his contemporaries often avoided frank talk about sex, or any suggestion that free market success was based on persuasion not value.

Advocates, especially in the anti_globalization movement, argue that the mating_like processes of standardization, financing and marketing, are already examples of runaway evolution - rendering a system that appeals to the consumer but which is inefficient at use of energy and raw materials. Biomimicry, they argue, is an effective strategy to restore basic efficiency.

Biomimicry is also the second principle of Natural Capitalism.

  Results from FactBites:
WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: Biomimicry 101 (1294 words)
Biomimicry, when well done, is not slavish imitation; it is inspiration--using the principles which nature has demonstrated to be successful design strategies.
Janine Benyus, with her book "Biomimicry", was the first to propose that learning from nature would be the perfect tool for eco-design.
Biomimicry can be achieved on different levels, according to benyus: form or function, the process level, and the system level.
Biomimicry (258 words)
Biomimicry is the science of studying functional systems in nature and implementing or borrowing these features for human technology.
Biomimicry can aid in the solving of new design problems or in the optimization of current technologies.
Since natural systems are highly optimized for their purposes/functionality due to the constraint of survivability, it makes sense for human engineers to seek design hints from pre-existing natural solutions.
  More results at FactBites »



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