Many systems in biology have networks at their hearts. Animal and plan circulatory systems are perfect examples.
All biological networks follow three guidelines:
- Space filling dictates that effective networks to stretch everywhere within the system and have terminal units that touch every component.
- Invariance of terminal units leads to the edges being the same no matter the scale; like power outlets in a building of any size.
- Optimization pushes every network to reduce the work requires to transmit the blood, electricity, or information.
Area preserving branching allows flows through the network with minimal interference or back feed. In combination with the three biological network guidelines, this effect produces fractal networks. This means that the network looks almost identical at varying scales.
The fractal nature of the networks critical to life add a forth dimension to the three dimensional nature of volume present in everything. It guides and limits the growth of organisms, cities, and even companies.