Tuesday, June 21, 2005

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Random Question of the Day: If you put a male fish and female fish at opposite ends of a fishless lake the size of Lake Tahoe (22 miles long, 12 miles wide, 72 miles of shoreline, greatest depth of 1,645 feet). Do you think that they would eventually find each other and have baby fish?

Been thinking about this on and off for some time, and I really have no idea. Does it depend on the fish? Say there was a nuclear disaster and the world was almost wiped clean of human existence. Somehow a single male and female human survives this on the island of Guam (about 30 miles in length and 8 1/2 miles wide). They are on opposite sides of the island. Assuming there were no advanced communication systems available to them, would they eventually find each other and procreate?


Anonymous said...

First for the people. Assuming that they lived for at least a couple months before dying, I can't really imagine them not running into each other.

I'm not sure about fish in Lake Tahoe, but I would wager that 2 whales in the same ocean would find each other (they have long-distance commuinication methods).

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I doubt the fish would ever find each other in something the size of Lake Tahoe.

Brute Force said...

Duke, are you assuming that the two people on Guam have access to cars and the like? Or, do you think they'd be drawn to something common, such as a source of fresh water, thereby increasing the chances that they run into each other?

Anonymous said...

They'll be making fires, which create smoke. Smoke is visible for a ways, and it's a clear sign that someone is there. They'll be investigating their island looking for better plants/animals to kill and eat which would also put them in a position to eventually wander within half a mile of each other. I think they'd have to try to be stealthy to go unnoticed.

A lot of the exploration will give clear signs after a while that there is indeed another person, and then they'd run into each other.

If they were sufficiently stupid or injured then it's possible that they'd die before running into each other.

Knowing nothing about fish communication hurts me trying to decide one way or the other for the Lake Tahoe fish. Sharks can sense movement pretty well, so I think 2 sharks would find each other quickly. If that's typical, then you have my answer on the fish.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really looking at this like you guys are. I think you're figuring the probability of them running into each other as each being like a pixel on a very large image that moves randomly. I'm saying this to a certain extent, but also that it leaves a lot of mess in it's wake. Eventually they'd make their presense obvious, and if you -knew- that there was someone on the island it would be trivial to seek them out (following their messes).

Anonymous said...

I think the two fish would find each other. However, the size of the fish matters here b/c 2 guppies probably won't find each other just b/c Lake Tahoe is now a whole continent, and not just akin to Guam. That being said, with no time limit and their being of a similar enough species to procreate, I think the two fish would eventually stumble upon each other and form a new population. Some parts of the lake may have better sources of food, or the wind may create some sort of current to push them into the same part of the lake, etc...there are probably other factors we can think of that would allow the fish to bump into each other.

Brute Force said...

You might very well be right about this. Assuming they had the necessary skills to stay alive, they'd leave enough clues for each other of their existence. That alone, as you pointed out, should be enough to get them together.

If the man was truly repulsive, this would really put the phrase, "even if you were the last man on Earth," to the test.

It would be a neat experiment or maybe a fun one-time reality show to throw two people on two ends of a smallish island. Don't tell them what the goal is, just let them figure it out. Or, better yet, stage a crash landing while en route to the "reality show." Monitor their actions via satellite or some non-detectable methods.

Brute Force said...

Crest - Not sure if the size of the fish really matters. Maybe it does in the sense that larger fish can probably swim faster. I think that their communications ability would play a more pertinent role. But, I don't know much about fish.

Duke - Yes, I had initially thought of this in terms of probability and whether or not randomly moving pixels would find each other. A gross oversimplification now that I think about it.