Rock Cairn Colonial Organism

The Rock Cairn Specimen

The Rock Cairn Specimen

Here at Zoöptic Labs, we love to hike, and often we find ourselves meandering off trail, distracted by the beauty of nature. Once, while deeply lost in the mountains of Colorado, we encountered a rock cairn specimen which aligned with others of its kind and showed us the way down the mountain, out of the thick wild woods and back to the safety of the trail. On reaching our vehicle, we immediately drove to the closest pub for hot toddies.

This experience made us realize how amazing the rock cairn, as a species, really is. It sparked our curiosity and led us to study the way they work together to communicate: with each other and with us. This level of communication is quite unusual, we think.

Rocks are interesting, in that they have been through a lot, and a lot of nothing. As you probably already know, communicating with a rock is completely different than communicating with a rock cairn. Naturally the difference is comparable to that of a jellyfish and man-o-war. One is a single multicellular organism, and the other is a colonial organism made up of nerdy specialized individuals called zooids.

Needless to say, a rock cairn has a much higher level of communication than a single rock, and a whole mountain even higher still. It’s rumored that if a member of the human species tries to listen to the language of a mountain, his or her brain, unable to fathom the ancient and complex information, will revert to a semiconscious, meditative state of mind.

Pretty cool.

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