Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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.
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.
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