This program may have been one of
the first to simulate a physical advantage in an evolving artificial life
via "natural" selection. While this claim is bold, it is easily
repeatable, and consider the straightforward evidence:
An "evolving tree", that drops fruit, which then turns into a seed to
create new trees, contains a rudimentary DNA code. This DNA code
contains basic information such as color and "stickiness", with each value
randomly altered slightly each generation. While the color only
provides a possible selection pressure from the user, the stickiness can
cause evolution from direct virtual environment selection pressure.
This happened because the initial fruit states were "bouncy", and this was
advantageous to make the fruits bounce farther and create a forest faster.
However near a mountain, or a steep incline, the bouncy fruit would not
take hold, and the trees could not grow on a hilltop (without birds) or
side of a hill. With the evolution of the stickiness "gene", a new
tree that grew sticky fruits eventually evolved and created two separate
"species" of trees: one that thrived on open terrain and one that thrived
on the tops of the mountains. If the color "gene" is tied to the
stickiness "gene", the user can visually see that there are two distinct
tree types thriving on the planet.
Furthermore, ladybugs would rapidly evolve into two "species": ones
that float and ones that sank, from a DNA buoyancy "gene" value. The
evolving trees also had this gene. Therefore the ladybugs would breed in two groups:
the ones that floated eating the floating fruits, and ones that sank that ate the
sinking fruits. It is unclear and doubtful that any symbiotic
relationships formed between the trees and ladybugs as a result, however,
if a tree type with certain types of fruits died out, the ladybug breed
would also die out. In other words, if the floating fruit trees died,
the floating ladybugs died, and if the sinking fruit trees died, the
sinking ladybugs died.
Indirect Benefits of Symbiotic
The trees and birds would form a "symbiotic relationship", benefiting
each other. The relationship was heavily one-sided towards the
benefit of the trees, however. While the birds obviously benefited
from the fruit of the trees, there was an indirect benefit to the trees.
Birds would carry the fruit of the trees over top of nearby uninhabited
islands, and drop the seed of the trees onto the island, thus expanding
the trees' domain. This also eventually results in the expansion in
the population of birds, because there are more trees providing more fruit
(food). This is considered unplanned because it was not an explicit
design of the code. The birds are not programmed to distribute the seeds
of the trees, it is an indirect effect of their flight behavior.