Mutant bacteria spontaneously swarm into patterns resembling van Gogh painting

For years, scientists have studied the how the bacteria Myxococcus xanthus self-organizes into swarms through a fascinating kind of "social cooperation." Now, researchers from Rice University and the University of Wyoming have observed mutant forms of the bacteria banding together in an array of tiny circles that resembles Vincent van Gogh's 1889 painting "Starry Night," seen below. To be fair, the scientists chose the colors; however the natural patterns and shapes are quite similar to the post-Impressionist painting.

"Our work highlights how a social bacterium, known for rich sources of therapeutic natural products and as crop biocontrol agents, serves as a powerful model for studying emergent behaviors that also exhibit artistic beauty," said University of Wyoming molecular biologist Daniel Wall.

"Swirling bacteria mimic Van Gogh's 'The Starry Night'" (Rice)

Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night"