“These bacteria, Paenibacillus dendritiformis and P. vortex, live in colonies, each about 100 times the size of the human population on Earth. So it is like a big globe with very sophisticated communication systems. The messages are elaborate: If they encounter antibiotics or some other threat, they send a message to the center of the colony and stop moving; if they encounter something positive, like food, they send the bacteria best at ingesting and degrading food ahead, so they can feed the whole colony more efficiently.
The other interesting thing is that they distribute tasks just like multicellular organisms and even engage in collective decision-making. I created a scoring system for the social IQ of bacteria and found that these species were three standard deviations higher than the median. In human-speak, people like Einstein show the equivalent score.”